Focus Features firms up 2010 slate

Dates set for George Clooney, Ben Stiller films

NEW YORK -- Focus Features has finalized dates for a chunk of its 2010 release slate and confirmed that it will unspool the Sofia Coppola drama "Somewhere," the Roman epic "Eagle of the Ninth" and the George Clooney thriller "The American."

The Universal specialty division announced 2010 releases for a half-dozen pics, including "American," the Anton Corbijn-directed and Clooney-toplined story of assassins in Europe, on Sept. 1; "Ninth," Kevin Macdonald's Roman epic, in the third quarter; and "Somewhere," in which Stephen Dorff stars as a bad-boy actor reunited with his daughter, sometime during the year.

It also said that it will release Noah Baumbach's relationship dramedy "Greenberg," the Scott Rudin-produced pic starring Ben Stiller as a man who finds an unlikely romance, on March 12; Thomas Balmes' doc "Babies," which follows the birth of four children around the world, on April 16; and the Ryan Fleck-Anna Boden dramedy "It's Kind of a Funny Story," in November.

Focus topper James Schamus called the slate "as audacious as any in our history," and president Andrew Karpen said that the recently concluded AFM "once again proves the resiliency and flexibility of Focus' global approach to the business."

The announcement, in addition to setting dates, also seemed designed to reassure a nervous film community that Uni remains in the specialty business for the foreseeable future at a time when Miramax and other counterparts have been shuttered.

Uni co-chair Donna Langley noted that "Focus' 2010 slate further demonstrates its unique ability to continually develop and deliver some of the best and most compelling specialty films in our industry."

The company also noted that it crossed the $1 billion threshold in total boxoffice dating back to its formation eight years ago.

This fall, Focus has had Shane Acker's "9" and the Coen brother's "A Serious Man" among its releases.