Picturehouse, the specialty film marketing and distribution company shuttered by Warner Bros. in 2008, is reopening its doors with Bob Berney at the helm, the company announced Tuesday.
Berney, who was among the founders of the company when it launched in 2005, will serve as chief executive and his wife Jeanne Berney will serve as president of the relaunched company, which will continue to be based in New York.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be back in business under the Picturehouse banner,” said Berney, who recently acquired the trademark and logo from Warner Bros. “We worked very hard to build it into a brand known for acquiring exciting, challenging and entertaining films from the U.S. and around the world, and helping them find their audiences.”
Picturehouse will acquire, market and theatrically distribute independent films from the U.S. and around the world. The company expects to release two or three films this year, increasing its output to four or five in 2014 and six or seven in subsequent years.
The company recently signed an exclusive, multiyear output deal with Netflix. Picturehouse films will come to Netflix exclusively in the United States shortly after theatrical release.
“Bob and Jeanne are legendary tastemakers and innovators who were early partners with Netflix in bringing amazing movies like 'Pan's Labyrinth' and 'La Vie en Rose' to our service,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “Netflix members love independent films and the Berneys have indisputably great taste.”
In addition, Picturehouse has secured a first look relationship with Warner Bros. Pictures International for films to which it has international distribution rights.
Picturehouse’s first new release will be "Metallica Through The Never," a feature film starring members of the iconic rock band and Dane DeHaan ("Chronicle").
DeHaan plays a young band crew member who is sent out on an urgent mission while the band is playing a live set in front of a sold-out crowd and unexpectedly finds his world turned upside down. The film, written and directed by Nimród Antal ("Kontroll," "Predators"), will be released on Aug. 9.
“Nim and the band have made a film that really captures the spirit of Metallica and their millions of loyal fans,” said Berney. “It’s an entertaining genre film with a concert inside it, a fun ride featuring an exciting young actor, Dane DeHaan. It’s a very cool project to reboot Picturehouse with.”
Berney has been a fixture on the independent film scene for decades and has overseen the U.S. releases of blockbusters such as "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "The Passion of the Christ" as well as critically hailed films including Christopher Nolan’s "Memento," Alfonso Cuaron’s "Y Tu Mamá También" and "Whale Rider."
Most recently, Berney co-founded and served as president, theatrical distribution of FilmDistrict, an acquisition, distribution, production and financing company. That company's recent releases include "Soul Surfer," "Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark" and "Drive."
Berney also served as chief executive at Apparition ("The Young Victoria," "The Runaways") and before that as president and partner at Newmarket Films ("Passion of the Christ," "Monster" and "Whale Rider"). Newmarket sold its distribution operation to Time Warner as part of the formation of Picturehouse.