ATO Pictures (Art Takes Over) CEO Temple Fennell announced today that the New York-based company is expanding its original mandate of financing and producing films (in the $3 and $10 million budget range) to include domestic distribution in all media with a dedicated theatrical window as the cornerstone of each release. In addition to financing and producing films, the company will consider "acquiring finished films to round out its distribution slate of four to six films per year." ATO will release its films theatrically through IDP (Independent Distribution Partners), the Samuel Goldwyn Films' distribution entity in which they are now a partner. ATO has also entered into an arrangement with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment to handle home entertainment distribution on DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Video On Demand and Digital Download.
"We are delighted that ATO has chosen IDP as its theatrical distribution vehicle," said Goldwyn's CEO and Chairman Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and Chairman and Meyer Gottlieb, President of Samuel Goldwyn Films, said in a statement.
ATO Pictures was co-founded in 2002 by musician Dave Matthews and music executive Coran Capshaw (owner of Red Lights Management), and will now be run by four industry veterans -- Fennell (who serves as the company CEO), Johnathan Dorfman, Peter Newman, and Greg Johnson. Additionally, ATO recently tapped former Cinetic Media executive Sarah Lash to serve as their Head of Acquisitions. Under this new structure, ATO will partner with Goldywn in the release of Bruce Beresford's "Mao's Last Dancer." The film broke box office records in Australia and will open in the U.S. on August 6th.
"There is incredibly strong demand for films that are an alternative to the studio blockbusters. Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer companies that have the wherewithal to finance and release these films," says ATO's CEO Temple Fennell, in a statement. "The supply of well-made, accessible films is not keeping up with the audience appetite. We believe this is the time to step into the ring as so many companies step out."
ATO is able to provide both a U.S. distribution commitment and funding to complete a film's financing plan. In today's volatile marketplace, a U.S. distribution commitment has become the essential element to secure both equity financiers and foreign pre-sales.