The Berneys Return to Distribution with the Revived Picturehouse and a Netflix Deal
Distribution veterans Bob and Jeanne Berney are returning to the business of releasing movies with Picturehouse, reviving the distribution brand Bob Berney headed in the mid-’00s. Reports Michael Ciepley in the New York Times, the Berneys, along with a group of investors, have bought the Picturehouse name and logo from Warner Bros. and have signed a deal with Netflix, which will release the company’s films following their theatrical release. A first picture is already lined up: “a 3D action movie,” Metallica Through the Never, starring the band.
On Tuesday, Mr. Berney said he is seeking additional financing for Picturehouse in its new incarnation. But he has set a release date of Aug. 9 for the Metallica film, and expects to be in business at the Sundance Film Festival that starts this week, looking to fill out a slate that he believes will include two or three films in 2013, and as many as six annually in the following years.
“We’ll do an aggressive platform release” of those films, he said. Mr. Berney described a strategy that begins with the release of films in a small number of theaters and then, with the successful pictures, may build to theater counts of a thousand or more.
Warner Brothers, he said, has contractual first-look at the foreign theatrical distribution of any film for which the new company acquires international rights.