Karpen looks to fill the specialty market void left when Peter Schlessel took over Universal specialty label Focus with a more genre-focus in mind. Karpen is looking for both limited and wide releases, and is willing to use multiple avenues to reach audiences, whether theatrical day-and-date, although he still believes in the traditional theatrical model, according to a source close to the company. Bleecker is looking for a mix of acquisitions and co-productions, and has no plans to form a foreign sales component, but will use existing companies.
“I’m thrilled to be working with some of the most talented people in the film industry,” said Karpen. “Jack, Myles, Tyler and Kent each bring different skills and abilities to the table, but they all share my love of great films.”
There is a gap to fill in the marketplace, with so many films available for domestic distribution. And Karpen has enough financial backing to create the company he wants. Bleecker Street is financed by Manoj Bhargava, founder of 5-hour Energy with support from Graham Taylor and Liesl Copland of WME Global.
So far the company slate includes three high-profile films backed by Bhargava via an output U.S. distribution deal with Shivani Rawat’s ShivHans Pictures. They all boast strong casts: Jay Roach biopic “Trumbo,” starring Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, and Elle Fanning; writer-turned-director Dan Fogelman’s “Danny Collins” starring Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale and Christopher Plummer; and Matt Ross’s “Captain Fantastic,” starring Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, Missi Pyle, and Steve Zahn.
RJ Millard’s Obscured Pictures’ will handle corporate and film publicity. The former VP of Publicity at Focus Features, was SVP of Publicity & Marketing at Samuel Goldywn Films/IDP and was the Press Officer for the Sundance Film Festival.