Rogue Returns: Focus Creates New Division for Mainstream, Genre Films

by Eugene Hernandez

Six year's after former Universal Studios specialty division October Films launched the genre division Rogue Pictures, Universal's latest Indiewood company, Focus Features, has created a new division with the same name. The new Rogue Pictures will be a division, in the words of an announcement Wednesday, "devoted to producing and distributing high-quality suspense, action, thriller and urban entertainment."

In announcing the new division at ShoWest in Las Vegas, Focus co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus also announced a slate of new Rogue Pictures projects, including a Luc Besson-produced action film starring Jet Li, a new film by Jean-Francois Richet, dubbed "Assault on Precinct 13," and Don Mancini's "Seed of Chucky."

The announcement indicated that films from the Rogue label will differ from Focus releases in that they will target a mainstream audience and gain a wider theatrical release. The move comes on the heels of Focus' recent opening of Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," which was released on more than 1,300 screens last weekend. The company said Wednesday that as part of the branding plan for the division, Focus will pursue corporate alliances, genre & niche media, and Internet marketing strategies.

"As we continue to diversify and grow our worldwide operations, we're adding Rogue so that even more filmmakers and actors can come to us and make movies with us that are entertaining and have even more mainstream appeal and maximum opportunity through all media," said Linde and Schamus in a prepared statement. "Just as we have established a successful and viable brand domestically and internationally with Focus, we are making the same commitment with the creation of Rogue."