In the wake of the resurgence of indie genre films, Focus Features has announced that the company has revived the Gramercy Pictures label “as branding for boldly imagined action, horror, and sci-fi genre movies,” according to their press release.
This is a seismic shift from Gramercy’s original inception, which released critical and box office hits such as “Fargo,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Being John Malkovich” and “Dazed and Confused.” The new Gramercy appears to target the same market that made “It Follows,” “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Ex Machina” recent genre hits.
“This renewed label reinforces Focus Features’ commitment to bringing a broad spectrum of entertainment to audiences that encompasses both commercial and specialty fare,” the press release reads. “As audiences’ consumption habits continue to evolve, the need for the targeted branding of entertainment content and the cultivating of a loyal fan base becomes imperative.”
“Far from anomalies in a flailing specialty marketplace, genre titles may in fact be its salvation,” wrote Eric Kohn recently.
The company also said that there will be no additional or separate staffing for the new label and that Focus Features will handle all of Focus Features and Gramercy Pictures releasing.
The release makes it clear that the “branding is important not only during the theatrical windows but also across ancillary and digital distribution platforms,” suggesting that Gramercy Pictures might take advantage of day-and-date distribution opportunities in a way that the studios haven’t been able to.
The new label’s inaugural slate of movies includes “Insidious: Chapter 3,” “Self/Less,” “Sinister 2,” “London Has Fallen,” “The Forest” and “Ratchet & Clank.”
Launched in May 1992 as a joint venture of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Universal Pictures, the original Gramercy Pictures served as Universal’s art-house division until January 1996 when PolyGram purchased the 50% stake of Universal and took control of Gramercy. When Seagram acquired PolyGram in 1999, it reacquired Gramercy only to sell it, along with October Films, to Barry Diller’s USA Networks, which merged the two companies and rebranded them as USA Films, which morphed into Focus Features in 2002.