Mike Fleming

Open Road, the new distribution company launched by theater chains AMC and Regal to find films that can play in wide release, has made its first major deal as Tom Ortenberg closed U.S. rights to the action film Killer Elite, which stars Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro. Here’s the official announcement:

Cannes, May 11, 2011 – Open Road Films has acquired all U.S. distribution rights to Omnilab Media’s film Killer Elite, an action thriller starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert DeNiro and directed by Gary McKendry. Financed by Omnilab Media, the film was produced by Michael Boughen through Omnilab’s Australian production arm, Ambience Entertainment alongside Sigurjon Sighvatsson, Steve Chasman, and Tony Winley. Killer Elite is slated for a fall 2011 release nationwide and will be the first film for the newly launched U.S. distribution venture Open Road Films.

Inspired by true events, Killer Elite is an action adventure spy film following Danny (Jason Statham), one of the world’s most skilled special-ops agents. Lured out of self-imposed exile to execute a near-impossible feat of retribution and personal salvation, Danny reassembles his old team of operatives to help rescue his former mentor (Robert DeNiro), and to penetrate the highly feared and respected military unit, the British Special Air Service (SAS). Facing off against a covert group of ex-SAS soldiers known as “The Feather Men,” who, under their leader Spike (Clive Owen), provide a deadly cloak of security around all SAS members, Danny and his team must take down a rogue cell of solider assassins before their actions result in a global political meltdown.

Killer Elite’s whirlwind action crosses the globe from Australia to Paris, Wales, London, Dubai and Oman. The story is based on Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ controversial non-fiction novel “The Feather Men.”

Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg stated, “Killer Elite is a fantastic, adrenaline-rush movie with a stellar cast. As one of the highest profile, big budget independent films available for the US, I am thrilled to have Killer Elite as Open Road’s premiere release and to extend my long-standing relationship with the team at Omnilab.”

Killer Elite will be released nationwide in fall 2011 in over 2000 theatres, supported by over $25 million in P&A. The project will be overseen at Open Road Films by Ortenberg and newly minted President of Marketing, Jason Cassidy. The acquisition nearly completes all worldwide sales for the title following the initial strong pre-sales closed by the film’s sales agent, Inferno Entertainment.

Omnilab’s Managing Director Christopher Mapp said, “In Open Road Films we’ve found a fantastic partner to bring Killer Elite to American audiences. Their distribution model is one of the most exciting in the marketplace and we are looking forward to an incredibly productive partnership with Tom and his team.”

The deal was negotiated on behalf of Open Road by Ortenberg, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Operations and Business Affairs Elliott Kleinberg and Senior Vice President of Acquistions Ben Cotner, and by Executive Producers Matthew Street and Peter D. Graves on behalf of Omnilab Media.

Founded earlier this year by AMC Entertainment Inc. (AMC) and Regal Entertainment Group (Regal), the two largest theatrical exhibition and entertainment companies in the United States, Open Road Films is a dynamic, acquisition-based domestic theatrical distribution company.