Saturday, May 13, 2017

Halle Berry's 'Kidnap' Set To Launch Aviron Pictures In August

After years in limbo amid the financial issues of distributor Relativity Media, we may finally get to see Halle Berry save her kidnapped son in 'Kidnap', a thriller directed by Luis Prieto and written by Knate Gwaltney that was initially set for in 2005.

The film has saw a string of release dates never materialize, but is now set to launch Aviron Pictures, a new distribution company by David Dinerstein, who founded Paramount Classics and was the architect of Fox Searchlight, on August 4th. Read details below:

Deadline: Just as the Cannes Film Festival is about to get underway, David Dinerstein, who founded Paramount Classics and was the architect of Fox Searchlight, is opening the doors to Aviron Pictures. The new distribution company will release up to eight wide releases a year beginning with the Halle Berry thriller Kidnap on August 4, followed by the Alec Baldwin-Salma Hayek comedy Drunk Parents in the fall, and an untitled horror film directed by Johannes Roberts in 2018 that’s a reboot of 2008’s The Strangers.

P&A funding for Aviron Pictures comes through Aviron Capital, a consortium of financiers including principal William Sadleir. Aviron Capital is an asset-backed senior lender with financing provided by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with more than $5 trillion under management. In addition, Aviron Pictures has a deal in place with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Dinerstein was joined by former Universal Pictures acquisitions executive Jason Resnick to help build out the Aviron Pictures slate and the label will be expanding its executive team in the near future. Aviron Pictures will also explore new media models on appropriate titles and platform release those movies as they see fit. Says Dinerstein, “Our intent has always been to let the films speak for the company, so we are proud to announce this slate of diverse pictures. For the past several months, we’ve been quietly tracking productions as we’ve been finalizing our financing. We are looking for the highest quality product and will only make a move if we are true believers in a film’s commercial potential theatrically and through all ancillary revenue opportunities. In that respect, our model is driven by creative execution and the potential for commercial excellence. We believe that these films squarely fit that bill.”

Aviron Pictures will be at the Cannes Film Festival looking for acquisitions.

Kidnap was originally set to be released by Relativity Media, and jumped around the calendar with its last date being March 10. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Erik Howsam produced Kidnap, alongside Joey Tufaro, Gregory Chou, and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Berry under the Oscar-winning actress’ 606 Films banner. Given the film’s promising test scores particularly among African Americans, the producers sought to extract the adrenaline-fueled story about a woman trying to save her kidnapped son out of Relativity and were successful. Berry’s The Call was a profitable genre hit, made for $13M and grossing $68.6M worldwide. “Kidnap is a film we really believe in,” says Dinerstein, who took all U.S. rights to the Luis Prieto-directed thriller.

“The executives at Aviron have been passionate, treated us as collaborators, and demonstrated real outside-of-the-box thinking,” said producers di Bonaventura and Berry in a statement. “We know Kidnap is in very capable hands.”

Gold Star Films and Caspian Media Capital financed the Knate Gwaltney-penned film, with CAA representing the sale.

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