The indie film community has been waiting for the unveiling of indie distributor Bob Berney's latest incarnation. Finally, after his short-lived stint at FilmDistrict, Berney is rebooting the Picturehouse label that he co-founded in 2005, which was later shuttered by partners New Line Cinema and HBO Films.
It's smart to have an established label for a new indie theatrical distributor; Berney acquired the trademark and logo from Warner Bros. And it also doesn't hurt to have an exclusive multi-year output deal for the U.S. with Netflix and a first-look relationship with Warner Bros. Pictures International for films to which it has international distribution rights.
Their first release will be Nimród Antal's "Metallica Through The Never," a fiction feature starring members of the rock band and Dane DeHaan ("Chronicle," "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"), which will hit theaters on August 9 and shortly after that, on Netflix.
“Nim and the band have made a film that really captures the spirit of Metallica and their millions of loyal fans,” said Mr. Berney, who will serve as CEO with Jeanne Berney as President of the relaunched New York-based company. “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.”
Picturehouse will head to Sundance ready to 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.
“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.”