Studio Canal Backing New Venture From Silver Pictures Alums (Exclusive)

Naomi Yamada

Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman are launching The Picture Company with backing from the French entertainment power

Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman, formerly of Silver Pictures, have launched The Picture Company, a new shingle backed by Studio Canal.

The formation of the company comes after Rona and Heineman left their posts at Silver Pictures in January after a five-year run that saw the production of action hit Non-Stop and the comedy Project X, among other releases.

The Picture Company will focus on making commercial films across all genres and will also make forays into television.

One of Rona and Heineman’s hallmarks was working with emerging filmmakers and developing ideas in-house Project X, which grossed more than $54 million domestic on a budget of around $20 million, was initially conceived by the producers — and the duo hope to continue that approach with the new banner.

And with credits that lean heavily on action fare, expect to see thrills and adventure on the docket. And Studio Canal, which made Non-Stop, would love a sequel, although it's too early to talk any concrete developments.

The new company is the latest turn in Rona and Heineman’s long-standing relationship. The two first met at Dimension Films in 2001, when Heineman was first Rona’s assistant and then an exec at the genre label of Weinstein-led Miramax. Rona, a 15-year vet with the Weinsteins, was Dimension’s co-president of production at the time, overseeing the making of the Scream trilogy as well as horror movies such as The Others.

When Rona left to run Rogue Pictures, the genre division of Focus Features, Heineman followed. Under Rona’s watch, Rogue made the horror hit The Strangers and the Focus release Coraline.

After the label was acquired by Relativity in 2008, the duo segued to Silver Pictures, where Rona acted as president and Heineman, who was on THR’s Next Gen list of future entertainment power players in 2013, was executive vp.  

Rona and Heineman helped the Joel Silver-led label find an anchor with Studio Canal when it lost its first-look deal with Warner Bros. The French entertainment company partnered with Silver Pictures to finance Unknown and Non-Stop, both of which starred Liam Neeson, as well as The Gunman, the Sean Penn and Idris Elba-starring thriller that Open Road will release Feb. 20, 2015.

Studio Canal is hoping to make The Picture Company a key contributor to its film slate and is aiming to make two to three movies a year once everything is up and running. The Picture Company, however, will not be bound to Studio Canal and will also seek to set up projects at studios and other companies around town.

In addition, Rona and Heineman have secured additional financing from Joseph Veincenti's Italia Films, which includes a development fund.

The deals were negotiated by CAA. Penny Karlin of the Karlin Group brokered the Italian deal.