'Women' sings shingle's swan song

The 3-year-old co-venture of HBO and New Line became one of the notable casualties of the Great Studio Pullback of ’08.

But Picturehouse managed a few hits before Time Warner pulled the plug. Nothing to rewrite the indie record book, but solid performers such as “The Orphanage,” “Mongol” and “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” showed there was still life in the place.

“We were finally just getting a team together and establishing ourselves with the creative community and exhibitors so they’d know what to expect,” says topper Bob Berney.

Of course, it was easier for Time Warner’s honchos to pull out when pics like “Run, Fatboy, Run,” “Silk” or “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show” fizzled. Yet the label’s demise was less about B.O. performance, and more about larger frictions between New Line and its parent company.

But Berney is determined to keep moving. After last Thursday’s L.A. preem of “The Women,” the final Picturehouse release that is now a wide Warner Bros. bow with a $30 million marketing tab, he took the red eye to Toronto. “I do want to run a company again, but it will undoubtedly be something more independent,” Berney says. “That’s just the way things are shifting.”

B.O. CUME: $40 million

TOP PIC: “Kit Kittredge,” $17 million

TOPPERS: Bob Berney, prexy; Arthur Marblestone, senior exec VP, marketing and distribution; Marian Koltai-Levine, exec VP, PR and promotions

UP NEXT:

“The Women” (Sept. 12)

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