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Bob Berney’s First Pic At FilmDistrict: Shark Attack Pic ‘Soul Surfer’

Mike Fleming

NEW YORK, November 1, 2010 – SOUL SURFER is the true story of competitive teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds to become a champion again, inspiring millions worldwide through her sheer determination and unwavering faith. Coming to theaters nationwide on April 15, 2011, this exciting feature film stars Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, AnnaSophia Robb, and Carrie Underwood in her film debut. The cast also includes Lorraine Nicholson, Kevin Sorbo and Jeremy Sumpter.

The first film to be released under the new deal between FilmDistrict and Sony Pictures, SOUL SURFER will go out as a wide release via TriStar Pictures with a broad-based and integrated marketing campaign managed by FilmDistrict.

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Watch Out Summit And Lionsgate: Bob Berney Joins GK’s FilmDistrict Startup

Mike Fleming

Bob Berney has finally landed. He’s the new president of Theatrical Distribution for FilmDistrict, an upstart acquisition, distribution, production and financing company launched by GK Films partners Graham King and Tim Headington, and spearheaded by GK Films president Peter Schlessel.

Since this has been months in the making, Berney’s destination isn’t surprising, but his mandate certainly is. The company will compete against the likes of Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate and CBS Films for moderately budgeted projects that have wide-release breakout potential. FilmDistrict will generate 4 to 8 pictures per year when it gets going. Since Berney’s background is specialty fare, the expectation was that he would put GK Films into that space.

FilmDistrict will target films that have the potential to play on between 1500 and 2000 screens. A good example is a GK-financed effort that might be one of FilmDistrict’s early projects: London Boulevard, the directorial debut of The Departed screenwriter William Monahan that stars Keira Knightley and Colin Farrell.

Given Schlessel’s long background at Sony Pictures Entertainment, it isn’t surprising that FilmDistrict will have a cozy relationship with SPE in its early stages, with a number of the releases expected to go through the studio’s TriStar or Triumph labels. GK Films separately has two distribution slots per year through SPE’s Columbia Pictures banner for its larger-budget fare. The GK-financed Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie-starrer The Tourist and the Martin Scorsese 3D pic Hugo Cabret will fill Sony slots, as will the GK-financed movie about … Read More »

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