Bob Berney, the Oklahoma City-born film marketing and distribution executive whose successes include “Pan's Labyrinth,” “Drive,” “The Passion of the Christ” and “Memento,” announced Tuesday that he is relaunching Picturehouse, the film distribution company he operated from 2005 to 2008.
“Last summer, I had talked to Warner Bros. about buying it (the name) back from them and working out an arrangement,” Berney said in a phone call from Park City, Utah. “They weren't actively using it, so they were very, very nice to enable me to do it. I think because it was so associated with me originally, they were really glad to do it.”
Warner Bros., Picturehouse's original parent company, also agreed to a first-look deal with the new Picturehouse on films that Berney's company acquires for worldwide distribution.
Before Picturehouse, Berney found success distributing through companies such as IFC Films and Newmarket. After Warner closed Picturehouse in 2008, Berney launched Apparition with film producer Bill Pohlad, whose projects include “Brokeback Mountain,” “Into the Wild” and “The Tree of Life.” Berney left Apparition in 2010 to work at FilmDistrict, which distributed “Drive” and “Looper.”
Picturehouse's first release will be “Metallica Through the Never,” a combination narrative and concert film showing the band through the eyes of a young crew member. Berney said the company will focus on platform releases, distributing its films to major markets before bringing each release to midsize and smaller cities. “Metallica Through the Never” begins its platform release schedule Aug. 9.
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