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‘Bionic Woman’ Michelle Ryan In Zom-Com

By | Wednesday March 16, 2011 @ 12:47pm PDT

Bionic Woman lead Michelle Ryan will star opposite Harry Treadaway in Cockneys vs. Zombies, a Brit “zom-com” that begins shooting in London on March 21. Ryan and Treadaway play hapless bank robbers who come up against zombie armageddon. Honor Blackman, best known to U.S. viewers from the 1960s cult show The Avengers, also stars. Matthias Hoene is directing from a script by Torchwood writer James Moran. Optimum Releasing, the UK arm of France’s Studio Canal, has already bagged domestic rights. SC Films International is selling the film internationally. I’m hearing that U.S. distributors are circling Harry’s twin Luke Treadaway’s latest completed film You Instead, Scottish director David Mackenzie’s rock festival rom-com that premiered last weekend at SXSW.

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Will Clarke Cashes Out From Optimum

By | Tuesday June 22, 2010 @ 9:51am PDT

Optimum_ReleasingThe founder and CEO of Optimum Releasing is leaving to become a producer with long-time business partner Paul Higgins. It was Higgins who bankrolled Clarke in the first place, setting up Optimum on £13,000 back in 1999. Optimum’s turnover last year was £36 million. I’m told that Clarke personally made £16 million ($24 million) when StudioCanal bought it for £22-25 million in 2006. I suspect that Clarke has always been more of an entrepreneur than a manager. And he has wanted to produce for a long time, steering Optimum towards production with its Brighton Rock remake and comedy Attack the Block.

Danny Perkins, the COO of Optimum who owns 17% of the company, will take over as CEO on September 1, reporting to StudioCanal chairman/CEO Olivier Courson. Optimum has become one of the UK’s most exciting distributors, releasing some of my favourite recent films – A Prophet, Donkey Punch and Eden Lake.

The backbone of the business is that StudioCanal 1,500-title back catalogue, which the distributor repackages into DVDs. Around 500 have been released so far. Optimum is also on board several juicy remakes mined from that catalogue, including Peter Jackson’s 3D The Dambusters. You can imagine how excited we Brits will be sitting in a darkened cinema when the Dambusters March strikes up, with 3D tracer fire zipping past your head.

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