FilmDistrict Distribution, LLC was an American motion picture company based in Los Angeles. It specialized in acquisitions, distribution, production, and financing. FilmDistrict was founded in August 2010 by Peter Schlessel in partnership with Graham King and Timothy Headington.

FilmDistrict's releases were distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for home and media markets, and after early 2014 those operations were handled by Focus Features and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment respectively, with the exception of Red Dawn which was released on DVD by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. FilmDistrict was dissolved into Focus Features in 2014. Soul Surfer, Drive, Looper, Evil Dead and Pompeii were retained by TriStar Pictures after 2014.

FilmDistrict Distribution, LLC
FateMerged into Focus Features
SuccessorFocus Features (label of Gramercy Pictures in 2015)
FounderGraham King
Timothy Headington
Peter Schlessel
Bob Berney
Headquarters1540 2nd Street
Suite 200
Los Angeles
United States
Key people
Peter Schlessel (CEO)
Adrian Alperovich (COO)
Christine Birch (President of Marketing)
Jim Orr (President of Distribution)
Lia Buman (EVP of Acquisitions)
Bob Berney (President of Theatrical Distribution)
ProductsMotion pictures
Number of employees


FilmDistrict acquired and released between four and eight wide release, commercial titles per year. This includes select titles from GK Films and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions.[1][2] In December 2010, FilmDistrict and Netflix signed a Pay-TV deal.[3]

FilmDistrict partnered with TriStar Pictures on select films such as Soul Surfer and Looper. FilmDistrict's CEO Peter Schlessel also made alternative distribution arrangements for their film releases. In 2012, Schlessel closed a three-picture distribution deal for their 2012 films to go through Open Road Films. Open Road released Lockout, the Luc Besson-produced sci-fi action movie that stars Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace, on April 13, 2012. Open Road also released the Red Dawn remake on November 21, 2012. On Open Road's official website they list both the Red Dawn remake and Playing the Field, even though Open Road was never involved in distributing those two films.[4]

On March 23, 2012, Peter Schlessel announced that FilmDistrict hired Christine Birch as President of Marketing as the company rebuilt its distribution team. She worked on The Help, Real Steel and War Horse when she was at DreamWorks.[5] On April 12, 2012, Schlessel announced Jim Orr has joined FilmDistrict as the new President of Distribution. He held similar positions when he was at MGM and Paramount Pictures.[6] At the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, FilmDistrict bought the U.S. rights for romantic thriller Dead Man Down[7] and, from Intrepid Pictures, Oculus.[8] On May 31, 2012, they have hired three new executives: Tracy Pollard (Senior VP of Creative Advertising), Brad Goldberg (Senior VP of Media), and Anna Baxter (Senior VP of Digital Marketing). FilmDistrict also announced that Adrian Alperovich has been promoted from President of Acquisitions and Operations to COO.[9] On June 25, 2012 FilmDistrict announced they have hired Elissa Greer as Senior Vice President of Publicity.[10]

In April 2013, FilmDistrict announced the launch of a unit, High Top Releasing, which "will provide distribution-for-hire services including sales, in-theatre marketing and print control support, film rental negotiation and collection capabilities to independent producers who have the ability to provide their own prints-and-advertising and marketing resources."[11]

On October 2, 2013, it was announced that Peter Schlessel would be replacing James Schamus as CEO of Focus Features effective January 2014, and FilmDistrict was shut down as a distributor. Future FilmDistrict titles will be absorbed and released under Focus Features, the first being That Awkward Moment.[12] FilmDistrict's last film is Paul W. S. Anderson's Pompeii, which the company produced and financed with German-based Constantin Film. TriStar Pictures handled the U.S. distribution. High Top Releasing later co-released Eli Roth's The Green Inferno with Blumhouse Tilt.



Release Date Title Notes
September 14, 2010 Insidious FilmDistrict's first release; co-production with Blumhouse Productions, Alliance Films, Stage 6 Films and IM Global
April 8, 2011 Soul Surfer co-production with TriStar Pictures, Mandalay Pictures, Enticing Entertainment and Brookwell/McNamara Entertainment
August 26, 2011 Don't Be Afraid of the Dark co-production with Miramax
October 7, 2011 Drive co-production with Sierra/Affinity, Bold Films and OddLot Entertainment
November 4, 2011 The Rum Diary co-production with GK Films and Infinitum Nihil
December 2, 2011 In the Land of Blood and Honey co-production with GK Films
April 13, 2012 Lockout co-production with Canal+, Ciné+ and EuropaCorp; theatrically released by Open Road Films
June 8, 2012 Safety Not Guaranteed co-production with Big Beach
September 28, 2012 Looper co-production with TriStar Pictures, Endgame Entertainment, FilmNation Entertainment and DMG Entertainment
November 21, 2012 Red Dawn co-production with Contrafilm, United Artists and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
December 7, 2012 Playing for Keeps co-production with Millennium Films
January 25, 2013 Parker co-production with Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Incentive Filmed Entertainment
March 8, 2013 Dead Man Down co-production with IM Global, WWE Studios and Original Film
March 22, 2013 Olympus Has Fallen co-production with Millennium Films and Nu Image
April 5, 2013 Evil Dead co-production with TriStar Pictures and Ghost House Pictures
September 13, 2013 Insidious: Chapter 2 US distribution only, co-production with Entertainment One, Blumhouse Productions and Stage 6 Films
November 27, 2013 Oldboy co-production with 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks and Good Universe
February 21, 2014 Pompeii FilmDistrict's final film, co-production with TriStar Pictures, Summit Entertainment, Constantin Film and Impact Pictures


  1. ^ Kilday, Gregg (September 27, 2010). "King's FilmDistrict taps Bob Berney". The Hollywood Reporter.
  2. ^ "filmdistributorguide – Film District". Retrieved 2013-01-09.
  3. ^ FilmDistrict Netflix Retrieved July 6, 2010
  4. ^ Open Road Films (June 28, 2012). "Playing the field". Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  5. ^ Christine Birch Joins FilmDistrict as Marketing President
  6. ^ "FilmDistrict Hires Jim Orr As President Of Distribution". Retrieved 2013-01-09.
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike (2012-05-17). "FilmDistrict Buys U.S. Rights To Colin Farrell-Noomi Rapace Pic 'Dead Man Down'". Retrieved 2013-01-09.
  8. ^ Fleming, Mike (2012-05-16). "FilmDistrict Acquires 'Oculus': Cannes". Retrieved 2013-01-09.
  9. ^ Kilday, Gregg (2012-05-31). "FilmDistrict Names Three New Marketing Executives". Retrieved 2013-01-09.
  10. ^ "FilmDistrict Hires New Line's Elissa Greer As SVP Publicity". Retrieved 2013-01-09.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Focus Features Hires Peter Schlessel to Replace James Schamus as CEO". October 2, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013.

External links

Dead Man Down

Dead Man Down is a 2013 American neo-noir crime thriller film written by J.H. Wyman and directed by Danish director Niels Arden Oplev. The film stars Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper, and Terrence Howard, and was released on March 8, 2013. Dead Man Down was Oplev's first film since The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009), also starring Rapace and scored by Jacob Groth.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010 film)

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a 2010 horror film written by Matthew Robbins and Guillermo del Toro and directed by comic book artist Troy Nixey. It is a remake of the 1973 ABC made-for-television horror film of the same name. The film stars Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, and Bailee Madison, as a family moving into a 19th-century Rhode Island mansion, where the withdrawn daughter (Sally) begins to witness malevolent creatures that emerge from a sealed ash pit in the basement of the house. Jack Thompson, Alan Dale, Garry McDonald, and Julia Blake stars in supporting roles.

An international co-production between the United States, Australia, and Mexico, it was filmed at the Drusilla Mansion in Mount Macedon and Melbourne (both in Victoria, Australia).The film was released in the United States on August 26, 2011, by Miramax Films and FilmDistrict. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark has received mixed to positive reviews from critics, who praised Holmes, Pearce and Madison's performances, direction, atmosphere and musical score, but criticized the lack of originality and jump scares and grossed $36 million against a $26 million budget.

Drive (2011 film)

Drive is a 2011 American action drama film directed by Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn. The screenplay, written by Hossein Amini, is based on James Sallis' 2005 novel Drive. The film stars Ryan Gosling as an unnamed Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver. He quickly grows fond of his neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan), and her young son, Benicio. When her debt-ridden husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac), is released from prison, the two men take part in what turns out to be a botched million-dollar heist that endangers the lives of everyone involved. Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, and Albert Brooks play supporting roles.

Producers Marc Platt and Adam Siegel optioned Sallis's 2005 novel, after Siegel read a review from Publishers Weekly. Adapting the book proved to be challenging for Amini, as it had a nonlinear narrative. Gosling, one of Platt's top casting choices, eventually signed on for the lead, as he wanted to star in an action-oriented project. Gosling played a pivotal role in the film's production, which included hiring Refn as director and Beth Mickle as production designer. Newton Thomas Sigel oversaw the principal photography, which started on September 25, 2010, was shot on location in various parts of Los Angeles, and ended on November 12.

Before its September 2011 release, Drive had been shown at a number of film festivals, including the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it received a standing ovation. Refn won the festival's Best Director Award. The film received widespread praise for its direction, performances, visuals, action sequences, and musical score. However, some critics were appalled by its graphic violence and found that potentially detrimental to the film's box office success. Several critics listed Drive as one of the best films of 2011, as well as the National Board of Review. Its honors included being nominated for Best Sound Editing in the 84th Academy Awards.

Evil Dead (2013 film)

Evil Dead is a 2013 American supernatural horror film directed by Fede Alvarez in his directorial debut, written by Rodo Sayagues and Álvarez and produced by Robert Tapert, Sam Raimi, and Bruce Campbell. The fourth installment in the Evil Dead franchise, it serves as a soft reboot and continuation of the original 1981 film. The film stars Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore.

Talks for a fourth Evil Dead film began in 2011, with original film actor Bruce Campbell the possibility for a next film in the franchise. The project was officially announced in July 2011, with Ghost House Pictures producing it, with Diablo Cody in the process of revising the script and Fede Alvarez chosen as the director. Much of the cast joined from January to February 2012. Filming took place in March 2012 and wrapped in May 2012 in New Zealand outside of Auckland, lasting about a month.Evil Dead had its world premiere at the South by Southwest film festival on March 8, 2013 and was theatrically released in the United States on April 5, 2013, by Sony Pictures Releasing and TriStar Pictures. It received generally positive reviews from film critics, and it grossed $97 million worldwide against a $17 million budget.

Focus Features

Focus Features LLC is an American film production and distribution company, owned by Comcast through Universal Pictures, a division of its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal. Focus Features distributes independent and foreign films in the United States and internationally.

Insidious (film)

Insidious is a 2010 supernatural horror film directed by James Wan, written by Leigh Whannell, and starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Barbara Hershey. It is the first installment in the Insidious franchise, and the third in terms of the series' in-story chronology. The story centers on a couple whose son inexplicably enters a comatose state and becomes a vessel for ghosts in an astral dimension who want to inhabit his body. The film was released in theaters on April 1, 2011, and was FilmDistrict's first theatrical release. The film is followed by a sequel, Chapter 2 (2013) and two prequels, Chapter 3 (2015) and The Last Key (2018).

Insidious (film series)

Insidious is a series of American horror films created by James Wan and Leigh Whannell. There are four films in the franchise, – Insidious (2010), Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013), Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015), and Insidious: The Last Key (2018) – which have grossed a total of $539 million worldwide on a combined budget of $26.5 million.

The first two films were directed by Wan, the third by Whannell, who also served as the screenwriter for all four films. Adam Robitel directed the fourth installment. FilmDistrict released the first and second films, while Focus Features and Universal Pictures handled the third and fourth, respectively.

The first two films center on a couple who, after their son mysteriously enters a comatose state and becomes a vessel for ghosts in an astral plane, are continuously haunted by demons of a hellish realm known as the Further until they take from the family what they want most: life. The third film, a prequel, focuses on the same psychic who helped the family; this time she comes to the aid of a young girl who calls out to the dead, and the fourth follows her when her own family becomes haunted. All plots are depicted as case files of demonologists.

London Has Fallen

London Has Fallen is a 2016 American action thriller film directed by Babak Najafi and written by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Chad St. John and Christian Gudegast. It is a sequel to Antoine Fuqua's 2013 film Olympus Has Fallen and stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman, with Alon Moni Aboutboul, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Sean O'Bryan, Waleed Zuaiter and Charlotte Riley in supporting roles.

Filming began in London on October 24, 2014. A Christmas break started in November with filming resuming in February 2015. The film was released by Focus Features under their recently revived Gramercy Pictures label on March 4, 2016, and grossed $205 million worldwide. However, the critical reception was generally negative, with Variety accusing it of fear-mongering and "terrorsploitation" while The A.V. Club named it worst film of the year.

A third film, titled Angel Has Fallen, is in development and started filming in 2018. It is set to be released on August 23, 2019.

Oldboy (2013 film)

Oldboy is a 2013 American neo-noir action thriller film directed by Spike Lee and with a screenplay by Mark Protosevich, starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley and Samuel L. Jackson in the lead roles. The film is an official remake, or as labeled by Lee, a reinterpretation of Park Chan-wook's 2003 South Korean film of the same name, which is also based on the Japanese manga of the same name.

The film was released on November 27, 2013. It was the last film to be distributed by FilmDistrict, before Focus Features absorbed the company in October 2013. It received a mixed reception from both critics and audiences, with praise towards the acting and visual style, but criticism for the comparisons to the original and not utilizing any creative choices to differentiate or justify the film's existence. The film was a box office bomb and showed one of the worst box office performances of Lee's directing career.

Olympus Has Fallen

Olympus Has Fallen is a 2013 American action thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt. It stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman, with Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, and Rick Yune in supporting roles. The film depicts a North Korean-led guerrilla assault on the White House, and focuses on disgraced Secret Service agent Mike Banning's (Butler) efforts to rescue the President (Eckhart).

The film was released on March 22, 2013, by FilmDistrict and earned $170 million against a $70 million production budget. It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Fuqua's direction and Butler's performance, but criticized the violence and screenplay. Olympus Has Fallen was one of two films released in 2013 that dealt with a terrorist attack on the White House; the other was White House Down. A sequel titled London Has Fallen was released on March 4, 2016, with the principal cast members reprising their roles. Another sequel, Angel Has Fallen, is scheduled for a 2019 release.

Parker (2013 film)

Parker is a 2013 American action thriller film directed by Taylor Hackford and written by John J. McLaughlin. Starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, the film is adapted from Flashfire, the 19th Parker novel, written by Donald Westlake under the pen name Richard Stark.

Primarily set in Palm Beach, Florida, the film revolves around professional thief Parker (Statham), who is double-crossed by his crew. He sets out for revenge on them, helped by a real-estate agent (Lopez) in a quest to steal what his former accomplices intend to rob at a jewelry heist. Parker marked a departure for Hackford, who hoped to make it his first film noir. The film, produced on a $35 million budget, was conceived following Westlake's 2008 death, when producer Les Alexander secured the rights to it.

It premiered in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 24, 2013, and was released in the United States on January 25. Reviews were generally mixed, with many critics feeling that it was a poor adaptation of the book, and typical of Statham's sub-par action films of the past few years. Others found Statham well-fitted for the role of Parker and praised Lopez for providing comedic relief. It grossed $46 million worldwide at the box office.

Playing for Keeps (2012 film)

Playing for Keeps is a 2012 American romantic comedy film directed by Gabriele Muccino, starring Gerard Butler with Jessica Biel, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman and Judy Greer in supporting roles. The film was released on December 7, 2012, in the United States and Canada by FilmDistrict. It received negative reviews from critics and was a box office bomb, grossing just $24 million on a $55 million budget.

Pompeii (film)

Pompeii is a 2014 romantic historical disaster film produced and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. An international co-production between the United States, Germany and Canada, it is inspired by and based on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. that destroyed Pompeii, a city of the Roman Empire. The film stars Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, with Jared Harris, and Kiefer Sutherland.

Pompeii premiered in France, Belgium, and Russia on February 19, 2014, and was released over the course of the next day in Argentina, Greece, Hungary, Italy and later in the United States and Canada on February 21, 2014.This is FilmDistrict's last film before it merged with Focus Features.

Red Dawn (2012 film)

Red Dawn is a 2012 American war film directed by Dan Bradley. The screenplay by Carl Ellsworth and Jeremy Passmorea is a remake of the 1984 film of the same name. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The film centers on a group of young people who defend their hometown from a North Korean invasion.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced its intention to remake Red Dawn in May 2008 and subsequently hired Bradley and Ellsworth. The principal characters were cast the following year and the film went into production in September 2009 in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Originally scheduled to be released on November 24, 2010, the film was shelved because of MGM's financial troubles. While in post-production, the invading army and antagonists were changed from Chinese to North Korean in order to maintain access to the Chinese box office, though the film was still not released in China. FilmDistrict bought the worldwide distribution rights in September 2011 and the film was released in the United States on November 23, 2012.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed is a 2012 American science-fiction romantic comedy film directed by Colin Trevorrow. It was screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) is a specialty film division of Sony Pictures. The company specializes in acquiring and producing films for a wide variety of distribution platforms.

Soul Surfer (film)

Soul Surfer is a 2011 American biographical drama film directed by Sean McNamara, based on the 2004 autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton about her life as a surfer after a horrific shark attack and her recovery. The film stars AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, and Lorraine Nicholson with Carrie Underwood, Kevin Sorbo, Sonya Balmores, Branscombe Richmond, and Craig T. Nelson.

Filming took place in Hawaii in early 2010, with additional filming taking place in Tahiti in August 2010. Soul Surfer was released in theaters on April 8, 2011 in the United States and Canada by a partnership between FilmDistrict and TriStar Pictures, and was a commercial success, earning $47.1 million on a $18 million budget, but received mixed reviews from critical audiences.

The Rum Diary (film)

The Rum Diary is a 2011 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Bruce Robinson, based on the novel of the same name by Hunter S. Thompson. It stars Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins and Giovanni Ribisi.

Filming began in Puerto Rico in March 2009 and was released on October 28, 2011. The film received mixed reviews and grossed just $23 million against its $45 million budget.

Walk of Shame (film)

Walk of Shame is a 2014 American comedy film written and directed by Steven Brill and starring Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Sarah Wright, Ethan Suplee, Oliver Hudson and Willie Garson. The film was released in the United States on May 2, 2014 by Focus World. It was originally distributed by FilmDistrict. However, when Focus Features absorbed FilmDistrict, this was sold to Focus Features' new division Focus World.

Walk of Shame garnered negative reviews from critics who commended Banks' performance but criticized Brill's filmmaking for creating an unspectacular comedic romp filled with broad caricatures and misogynistic views on women. The film became a box office flop, grossing $59,209 against a $15 million budget.


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