New plan will give vid distrib more oversight control

Film and video distributor First Look Media and DEJ Prods., a theatrical and video supplier owned by Blockbuster, have inked a deal for First Look to distribute most DEJ titles.

Plan effectively will combine the sales forces of the respective companies. In practice, that means First Look will likely hire DEJ’s current sales force.

“We have made offers to their sales staff, and there’s every indication that they will join us,” First Look senior VP sales and distribution Bill Bromiley said. The combined sales force will number about 10.

Deal will also see First Look hire four or so additional operational and accounting support staff to support the new distribution team.

First Look and others, including Lions Gate Entertainment, have worked as third-party distribs for DEJ in the past. But officials believe the new plan will give DEJ more oversight control of their distribution than in those previous arrangements.

DEJ president Andrew Reimer said his company had considered building up its own internal sales force but, as a result of its history with First Look, felt this strategy was the better option.

“We have a pretty pared down sales force, and First Look has been much more expansive and out there,” he said.

There have been some preliminary discussions about international distribution as well, but no decisions have been made yet. Though each company will continue to make its own acquisitions, Bromiley indicated the two companies will co-acquire and distribute worldwide a group of unspecified pics.

“Jointly we’ll both be focusing on higher-profile titles which are bigger-budgeted, cast-driven theatrical product than we’ve done in the past,” he said.

These titles will either be distribbed via First Look’s own domestic theatrical distribution operation or an outside distributor.

Reimer said DEJ’s current slate of two to three dozen titles a year will not change size under the new sales arrangement. DEJ’s relationship with parent Blockbuster is also unaffected, with their direct distribution arrangement existing separately from the First Look deal.

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