Inside Move: Yari’s now yearning to combine shingles

Exec to oversee foreign sales arm Syndicate

Bob Yari is in the process of rolling his Stratus Film Co., Bull’s Eye Entertainment, Bob Yari. Prods. and El Camino Pictures into a single company.

In a 2003 interview with Daily Variety, Yari said the idea behind multiple banners was “to brand all these companies individually.” However, a source close to Yari says this change in strategy does not affect his goal to create a full-fledged independent studio. Yari also oversees foreign sales arm Syndicate Films Intl. and hopes plans to move into video and theatrical distribution.

Yari launched his outfits two years ago — hardly enough time for one company to create a single brand identity, much less four. However, in that period the companies produced 16 films. As a result, the multi-shingle model may have inadvertently created a sense of confusion in the marketplace.

All told, Yari’s companies produce a total of 10-12 titles a year. Yari has said that volume is key to keeping his company afloat. “We’re not dependent on individual performance to recoup,” he told Variety last month. “We don’t risk the core equity.”

Yari has about 50 employees, but he’s only seen two theatrical releases so far: “A Love Song for Bobby Long” and “Hostage.” At least another half-dozen movies are scheduled to roll out this year, including “Thumbsucker” through Sony Pictures Classics and “Crash” with Lions Gate Films.

Bull’s Eye, BYP and El Camino fall under the Yari Film Group, while Stratus is a separate financing arm. However, earlier this month Stratus saw the exit of partner Mark Gordon, who said he wanted to focus on production rather than management.

The process of melding the companies could be a complex one. Stratus has a first-look cofinancing deal with Universal Pictures and Focus Features that expires next year; Bull’s Eye has a first-look at Paramount Pictures, but it’s slated to end later this year. Film financing banner El Camino is an alliance between Yari and William Morris Independent.

And then there’s the question of who might run the show. Cathy Schulman and Tom Nunan oversee Bull’s Eye and with Gordon’s exit, exec VP Brad Jenkel received more executive authority at Stratus.

El Camino’s “First Snow” starring Guy Pearce has just wrapped. Upcoming productions are Bull’s Eye’s “The Illusionist,” which stars Paul Giamatti and Edward Norton, and George Hickenlooper’s “Factory Girl” at Bob Yari Prods.

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