CBS Films taps output chief

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Film distribution veteran Steven Friedlander was named executive vp distribution at CBS Films on Wednesday.

Friedlander will oversee all domestic theatrical releasing at the fledgling film company, reporting to CBS Films chief Amy Baer.

"Steven's reputation is stellar," Baer said. "He's one of the most respected distribution executives in the industry today, highly regarded among filmmakers and exhibitors alike. He also has a unique skill set, having built two distribution infrastructures from the ground up."

Most recently, Friedlander was executive vp at Warner Independent Pictures until the short-lived specialty unit was shut by its major-studio parent. Before that, he was executive vp distribution at New Line's one-time art house division Fine Line and from 1989-96 held distribution positions at New Line.

Friedlander's first distribution job was at Fox, which he joined in 1984.

Launched last year, CBS Films aims to develop, produce and distribute upward of four films per year with budgets of up to $50 million. More than 20 movies are in various stages of development, including such projects as the Harrison Ford starrer "Crowley," the romantic comedy "Plan B," the book series-based thriller "Consent to Kill" and a remake of the musical "My Fair Lady."

Acquisitions also are part of the longer-range vision at CBS Films.

"We would love to acquire one or two pictures a year eventually," Baer said. "But acquisition is not a cornerstone of what we're doing."

CBS Films might have a first release in the marketplace by late 2009, she said, adding that most films will get wide releases. (partialdiff)
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