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Star Power Propels Premiere

27 Feb, 2002 By: Marla Matzer Rose

A year after its formation, Mitchell Goldman's Premiere Marketing & Distribution Group announced Tuesday its first slate of pictures.

The company will market and distribute but not produce films and plans to release its first feature in June.

Such stars as Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Joaquin Phoenix and Kim Basinger are featured in Premiere's announced slate. The company's first release, Slap Her, She's French, features Coyote Ugly star Piper Perabo.

Slap, a teen comedy described as "All About Eve in high school," is set for a June 7 release. Premiere's second film will be Madison, an action feature starring Jim Caviezel (The Count of Monte Cristo), set for an Aug. 23 release. In all, 10 films were announced Tuesday, with several more expected to be unveiled next week during the ShoWest exhibitors convention in Las Vegas.

Goldman said Premiere has received "tremendous support" from agents, managers and lawyers who "really see the need for an alternative distribution agency of size." The company promises North American distribution on par with studio releases, guaranteeing at least 2,000 screens and a minimum of $16 million in pre-opening and first-week prints-and-advertising spending.

Premiere expects to release six films during its first year and about 12 a year thereafter. Release dates have been set for two other titles announced Tuesday: Tales Not Told, the directorial debut of writer-producer Debra Hill, is set for a Jan. 10 release, and Aurora Island, directed by Martha Coolidge and starring Basinger, Phoenix and Mandy Moore, is expected to open Feb. 21.

Rounding out the announced slate are: The Legend of Mulan, a lavish English-language film produced in China and based on the myth of Mulan; Not Human, a horror thriller directed and co-written by Steve Haberman; One Way Split, a crime thriller whose producers are in discussions with Hugh Jackman to star; Preacher, based on the cult comic book; and The Prince, an urban thriller expected to attract major stars in that genre. In addition, Premiere is in negotiations to acquire U.S. distribution rights to the action-comedy The Wedding Contract, starring Murray, Weaver and Isabella Rossellini.

Getting his financing together took longer than expected, Goldman admitted. "It seems like it's taken a lifetime," he said. "Between (Osama) bin Laden, the economy, the German stock market (crash), the death of dot-coms ... you name it."

Premiere has offices in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and New York City. The company has 16 employees, with plans to ramp up to 40-50 during the next year.

Other Premiere executives include president of distribution Lewis O'Neil, EVP of acquisitions Barry Glasser, EVP of marketing Linda Goldenberg and CFO Douglas Lowell. Goldman was president and COO of distribution and marketing at New Line Cinema.

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