The independent sales and production company Highland Film Group led by Arianne Fraser and Delphine Perrier is launching a U.S. theatrical distribution arm called The Avenue Entertainment and has appointed JJ Caruth as The Avenue’s president of domestic marketing and distribution, Highland Film Group announced Wednesday.
The Avenue will handle theatrical distribution of six to eight titles per year, and the new venture will also partner with Paramount Home Entertainment to handle the distribution of Blu-Ray, DVD, VOD and digital titles.
Caruth will be responsible for overall acquisitions, marketing and distribution for The Avenue, and the company will both acquire and produce its own films. Highland Film Sales will also provide financial support for films with global appeal.
The first movie released under the new stand-alone distribution banner is “Jiu Jitsu,” a martial arts and sci-fi film that stars Nicolas Cage and Frank Grillo. The film is directed by Dimitri Logothetis and will be released on November 20. The movie follows an ancient order of Jiu Jitsu fighters who face off against a vicious race of alien invaders in a battle for the survival of the Earth.
A production of LBE Jiu Jitsu AVC, “Jiu Jitsu” is produced by Logothetis, Martin J. Barab and Chris Economides. Arianne Fraser, Delphine Perrier and Gary Wood serve as executive producers, and Highland Film Group handles worldwide rights for the film.
Films released under The Avenue label will be a combination of selected film titles from Highland Film Group as well as third party acquisitions. Funding for The Avenue is provided by Cygnus Film Group, LLC which has entered into a financing agreement with R.U. Robot Ltd, managed by Petr Jákl and Martin J. Barab.
“For 10 years, Highland Film Group has gained a strong reputation as an independent worldwide sales, production, and film financing company. Our passion and commitment for this industry are key in guiding our strategic efforts to make Highland Film Group a global entertainment group providing services at every stage of the content’s life cycle. This is the perfect moment for the group to expand its horizons into US distribution. We are thrilled to take this next step in the company’s growth,” Highland Film Group CEO Fraser said in a statement.
“We are beyond excited to have JJ Caruth join our team at the helm of The Avenue. Her impressive career and deep insider knowledge of US distribution and the industry at large is invaluable to see The Avenue thrive during these evolving times. Our collaboration with market leader Paramount Home Entertainment is also key to the success of our new division and we look forward to working with the amazing team at the studio. Our expansion into domestic distribution has been a key goal for us to take the company to the next level. After all the hard work, this is a great day,” Highland Film Group COO Perrier added.
“I am thrilled to be joining the The Avenue at a time of great change, evolution and exciting opportunity in our industry. Arianne and Delphine have impeccable relationships with filmmakers which creates the perfect springboard for this new distribution venture,” Caruth said in a statement.
Caruth was most recently vice president of content strategy and marketing at Universal Pictures Content Group and oversaw film such as “Loving Pablo,” “The Public,” “An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn” and “Piercing.” Prior to that she was head of marketing and distribution at Focus World, a division of Focus Features and NBC Universal.