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Senator Distribution Arm Closing

Company’s president Mark Urman leaves after less than one year on the job.

Another independent distribution company has bit the dust.


The distribution arm of Senator has effectively closed because it could not raise upwards of $10 million for P&A costs to release its slate of films, and Mark Urman, the president of the company, has officially left and returned to New York.


"I am home. I am no longer with the company," Urman told TheWrap on Wednesday. "It’s not a secret. We could not raise the P&A that we needed."


The ground shifted at Senator after the weak April run of "The Informers," the Gregor Jordan-directed movie starring Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Basinger. The film opened at a paltry $700 average on 500 screens.


Indie companies have been struggling in the financial crunch that has made capital scarce. Among the companies that have slowed to a near halt include DreamWorks and even MGM on a larger scale, and smaller companies like the Yari Film Group have shut down, while the Weinstein Company is struggling.


Urman said in an interview that at a time when there are so few distribution outlets, it’s bewildering that nobody can seem to make it work. "These are good people, good films, but there are no buyers," he said. "This should be a perfect time to be doing this. Theres a desperate hunger for these films. That’s what we all need to think about."

One executive at the company said that it has been clear for a while that they were not going to be able to raise the money to release their slate. The movies include the Samuel L. Jackson title "Unthinkable" and Antoine Fuqua’s "Brooklyn’s Finest." The company has been continually shifting its slate to make the financials work.


Eight movies in all will be orphaned by the unit’s closure. Senator says it’s still planning to release the Julia Roberts film "Fireflies in the Garden" later this summer as well as "Meserine."


Senator recently closed its New York operations, which handled most of the distribution duties.


The executive said the company didn’t want to go down the road with its titles only to have to pull back closer to release dates due to money problems.