Weinstein Co. forms new distribution banner

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UPDATED 4:46 p.m. PT, Feb. 8, 2008

The Weinstein Co. is launching the new distribution banner Third Rail Releasing. George A. Romero's "Diary of the Dead" will be the first movie out of the gate for the label, which opens Feb. 15.

Third Rail's goal is to showcase what the company describes as "inventive and edgy vanguard films" from independent and maverick filmmakers with an aim to use "groundbreaking" marketing tools. TWC is partnering with independent home-entertainment distribution company Genius Products, which it co-owns, on the venture, and plans to release six to 10 movies a year.

TWC already runs the well-established genre arm (and company profit leader) Dimension Films. While launching a new banner may seem redundant or an unnecessary addition, the company says Third Rail is not another genre label, despite its launch with "Dead."

TWC says the label is the best way to properly market and maximize revenue on low-budget films of all kinds, either around the same budget range as the $3-4 million "Dead" or lower. Films with bigger budgets and box-office potential, such as the Denzel Washington drama "The Great Debaters" or a horror franchise entry like Rob Zombie's "Halloween," will continue to be released under by TWC, Dimension, or in partnership with MGM or other distributors.

Maximizing home entertainment profitability through Genius is another key goal of Third Rail, there are no plans for day-and-date releasing of its titles.

The launch is being heralded as the first in a series of strategic and operational moves the company plans to make with the recent addition of Lee Solomon as COO. In the newly created position, Solomon has been given the mandate to create innovative opportunities.

Borys Kit reported from Berlin; Gregg Goldstein reported from New York.
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