Overture Films will produce, distribute 8-12 new feature films per year and will be run by Chris McGurk as CEO, Danny Rosett as COO.
Starz LLC today announced the formation of a new motion picture studio, Overture Films, which will produce, acquire and distribute eight to 12 full-length feature films a year. The studio said it will form collaborative relationships with filmmakers.Overture Films is a wholly owned subsidiary of Starz, LLC, which is a unit of Liberty Media Corp. and which also operates the Starz Entertainment premium television business and the Starz Media production and distribution company.
Overture Films is headed by Chief Executive Officer Chris McGurk and Chief Operating Officer Danny Rosett. McGurk and Rosett were key executives at Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios Inc. prior to MGM’s 2005 sale to a group of investors led by Sony Corp. Most recently, McGurk served as senior adviser, new ventures, to Starz Media.
McGurk was vice chairman and chief operating officer of MGM from 1999-2005. Rosett held a variety of executive roles at MGM from 1994-2005, including president of United Artists, MGM’s specialty film division. During McGurk and Rosett’s tenure at MGM, the studio’s slate included such successful films as Hotel Rwanda, Legally Blonde, Barbershop, Die Another Day, Hannibal, The Thomas Crown Affair and the Academy Award winners Bowling for Columbine and Capote, which UA produced.
McGurk said, “Unburdened by the infrastructure and red tape of big studios, Overture Films will provide a unique opportunity for creative talent to return to the fundamentals of film making: original stories, gifted actors and innovative directors.”
He added that domestic and international theatrical distribution will also be handled by Overture. The target is for about 60 percent of the films to be original productions, with the other 40 percent acquired. The studio will be based in Los Angeles, and releases will begin in mid-2007.
McGurk will report to Robert B. Clasen, chairman and CEO of Starz LLC.
Clasen said the Overture Films slate will further strengthen the lineup of movies from other studio partners on the Starz premium channels and the Vongo Internet subscription movie download service. Overture will also provide a new business opportunity for Starz Home Entertainment, which will distribute the films to the home video market.
Rosett, who will report to McGurk, noted that the financial success of movies depends on having guaranteed premium television and home video distribution in place. “Overture Films from the start has a multi-year output deal with Starz Entertainment—including the Starz premium channels and Vongo—and a distribution agreement with Starz Home Entertainment.”
Rosett continued, “We plan to release a broad and balanced spectrum of films that will target specific audiences, avoiding the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“tent-pole’ focus that drives the major studios. Within the eight to 12 films we release each year will be dramas, socially minded projects, thrillers, comedies, horror films and urban projects. Over the next few months, we will build the team that will be responsible for producing and distributing these films. We expect to make further announcements about our team, alliances with film makers and international distribution plans in the coming months.”