'Rush' Crash: Will Exclusive Media Stop Releasing Films?
This story first appeared in the Feb. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Can one flop bring down a movie company? A Feb. 10 shake-up at Rush backer Exclusive Media raises the possibility that it will shutter its U.S. distribution arm. While Exclusive Releasing is a small division of the production, financing and sales outfit, its potential closure reflects dramatic belt-tightening at the company.
Exclusive co-chairs Guy East and Nigel Sinclair, who are exiting six years after co-founding the company in 2008, had grand plans to distribute three to four movies annually. But sources say as much as $10 million in losses from Ron Howard's Rush -- Exclusive co-financed the $50 million Universal release with Cross Creek Pictures -- caused a rift between East and Sinclair and Dasym Investment Strategies. Dasym, the Dutch investment fund of Endemol founder John De Mol that has a majority stake in Exclusive, likely won't pull out of the company entirely, but it will trim costs after Sinclair and East's ambitious growth spurt (Dasym reps continue to be ensconced in Exclusive's L.A. offices).
Exclusive Releasing has put out two films -- the JFK assassination pic Parkland, an Exclusive production that quickly died, and the erotic Naomi Watts-Robin Wright drama Adore, which made $5 million-plus from its day-and-date VOD release. One upcoming title, the supernatural thriller Out of the Dark, still is eyeing an August release. Exclusive declined comment.