Posted on: October 23rd, 2007
Strangers and Doomsday head to Universal-
Online since: February 20th, 2006
Hosted by: Yahoo!
Article written by:  Nightmare Child
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Source:  Variety
(Poster art for THE STRANGERS)
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According to Variety, Focus Features is shifting marketing and distribution
of all titles from its genre arm Rogue Pictures to Universal beginning in
2008. Along with that announcement on Monday, Focus chief exec James
Schamus also unveiled new hires in the production ranks and a stepped-up
level of collaboration with U's overseas production team. The central aim of
the realignment is to expand the scope and scale of its production and
distribution slate, or a "focus on Focus," as Schamus put it. This fall and
holiday season is a harbinger of the Focus of the future, with "Lust,
Caution," "Eastern Promises," "Reservation Road" and "Atonement" all taking
up substantial real estate in terms of production, marketing and kudos
potential. Capacity issues have also meant Focus has not acquired a pic at
a film festival in two years, a situation that has been frustrating to
Schamus and others in the company.

The moves, which had been brewing for a couple of months, give U a fully
functioning genre arm comparable to Screen Gems at Sony. The first Rogue
titles that will go out through U in 2008 are suspenser THE STRANGERS,
starring Liv Tyler; action thriller DOOMSDAY, starring Rhona Mitra, Bob
Hoskins and Malcolm McDowell; and action drama "Fighting," starring
Channing Tatum and Terrence Howard.
"We saw this as the smartest and
most efficient way to grow both our businesses,"
Schamus said. "With the
ever-increasing mainstream appeal of the Rogue slate, we feel that Rogue
can really take off with the backing of the Universal team. Now that the
Rogue movies are going to be handled in a major-studio capacity, the
Focus marketing and distribution staffs will be able to nurture the
increased number of Focus releases we have in our pipeline."

Rogue co-prexies Andrew Karpen and Andrew Rona will continue to run the
division and coordinate the Rogue slate for domestic release with Universal.
Karpen will also continue as president of Focus Features. Since its creation
in March 2004, Rogue has had a fairly successful run, with hits such as
"Balls of Fury," "Hot Fuzz" and "Seed of Chucky." But so far it's not had the
horsepower to challenge Dimension or Lionsgate for the top of the specialty
genre heap. Cary Fukunaga's Spanish-language thriller "Sin Nombre,"
produced by Amy Kaufman through her Primary Prods. and
executive-produced by Pablo Cruz of Canana Films, will be distributed by
Focus domestically and by U overseas. It was put forward as an example of
the kinds of titles the new arrangement will foster.

Joining the Focus production team are director of development Samantha
Taylor Pickett and creative executive Michael Pruss, both of whom will be
based in the company's West Coast offices and report to Focus senior VP
of production Kahli Small. Pickett and Pruss both are joining Focus from
development and acquisitions posts at Paramount Vantage. Pickett
previously worked for filmmaker Michael Mann and at CAA; Pruss worked at
DreamWorks. The new game plan "recognizes the successes of both Focus
and Rogue," Universal Pictures chairman Marc Shmuger and co-chairman
David Linde said.
"It preserves Focus' commitment to its core filmmaking
ambitions and principles, and looks to achieve the maximum potential of
Rogue's established production team on a larger playing field."