Genre label on 'Hot' streak with pickups

B.O.: $111 million

Top pic: “Jet Li’s Fearless,” $25 million

Exec suite: James Schamus, Andrew Karpen, David Brooks

Analysis: The mood is upbeat for Focus’s genre label, Rogue, which did the heavy lifting over the past year, notching respectable hits with “Hot Fuzz” and “Jet Li’s Fearless.” The Focus of “Brokeback Mountain,” “Lost in Translation” and “The Pianist” has been largely in hibernation. Main kudos hopeful “Catch a Fire” melted down, and summer 2007 was rough, with “Talk to Me” and “Evening” bidding for upscale counterprogram playability but coming up well short. Scuttlebutt immediately centered on the effect of James Schamus running the operation solo in the wake of longtime partner David Linde’s move to parent Universal in 2006. Schamus, who continues to teach at Columbia and scripts house-director Ang Lee’s films, waves away the theory and points out how many heavyweight productions he has shepherded for release by year-end. Focus may be the most dramatic example of the shift in the specialty biz toward ambitious full production titles — the company hasn’t acquired a pic in nearly two years. The fruits of Schamus’ efforts will arrive this fall in the form of David Cronenberg’s “Eastern Promises,” Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution,” Terry George’s “Reservation Road” and Joe Wright’s Ian McEwan adaptation “Atonement.” Success has come in bunches before, as with 2002’s “Far From Heaven” and “The Pianist” or 2005’s trio of “Brokeback,” “Pride & Prejudice” and “The Constant Gardener.”

Up next:

  • “Eastern Promises,” Sept. 14

  • “Lust, Caution,” Sept. 28

  • “Reservation Road,” Oct. 19

  • “Atonement,” Dec. 7

  • “The Strangers,” 2008

  • “Coraline,” 2008

  • “Doomsday,” 2008

  • “In Bruges,” 2008

  • “Miss Pettigrew Lives,” 2008

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