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Oklahoma City-born Bob Berney relaunches Picturehouse

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.
BY GEORGE LANG Published: January 18, 2013

In addition to the first-look deal with Warner, Berney said that Picturehouse has set up an exclusive multiyear deal with Netflix, which will stream all Picturehouse films after their theatrical and Blu-ray/DVD releases.

“At the original Picturehouse, we did one of the first streaming deals with Netflix for ‘Pan's Labyrinth,'” Berney said. “It kind of broke new ground with them — it was one of the first films they did in that manner.”

Berney said the traditional pay services, the premium channels such as HBO and Showtime, are closely tied to the major studios, and it was difficult for independent studios and distribution companies to compete with the majors for space on such channels' schedules. Netflix, he said, has been “a game changer.”

“So there was really no decision other than working out a deal, because it's a win-win for both of us,” he said. “Plus, the films we've had over the years have connected with their audience, so Netflix really looked at me and our team as picking the movies their customers like.”

The new Picturehouse will be based in New York, with Berney serving as chief executive officer and his wife Jeanne Berney, who most recently worked as vice president of marketing at FilmDistrict, will serve as president.