Chris McGurk to oversee additional Liberty co.

Overture Films CEO Chris McGurk has expanded his reach under the Liberty Media umbrella. He will now also oversee Anchor Bay Entertainment, the company that distributes Overture’s product in the home entertainment arena.

Both companies are Liberty Media-owned, but Anchor Bay had previously been part of Starz Media, the company’s TV production, syndication and animation unit. Now it has been shifted and joins Overture in Liberty Media’s motion picture group. In the new configuration, Anchor Bay prexy Bill Clark will report to McGurk, who presided over home entertainment in his previous stints atop MGM and Universal.

Move comes as Anchor Bay prepares for the May 13 release of “Mad Money,” Overture’s first theatrical release. McGurk and Clark said the new structure will help both divisions grow.

“Anchor Bay has been a leader in independent video distribution, and this comes at a time when it is moving into primetime,” McGurk told Daily Variety. “Overture releases are going to become a big part of Anchor Bay’s revenue profile, and the success of Anchor Bay’s distribution will be a big part of Overture’s revenue profile. It’s the right time to be under joint management, to make sure we’re doing everything from a marketing standpoint to maximize video releases. We will aggressively explore how to take Anchor Bay into new platforms and to develop new businesses.”

Overture recently released the Tom McCarthy-directed “The Visitor,” and its 2008 slate includes the Mark Pellington-directed “Henry Poole Is Here,” the Don Cheadle starrer “Traitor,” the Robert De Niro-Al Pacino pairing “Righteous Kill,” and the Dustin Hoffman starrer “Last Chance Harvey.”

Consolidation will allow Overture and Anchor Bay to be on the same marketing page when those films get video releases beginning late this year.

Anchor Bay prexy Clark said the move will help bolster the vid company’s efforts to build a line of direct-to-vid releases, something that will be helped with the prospect of a limited theatrical release.

“We are looking for films that give artists the chance to take creative risks, but several of these could pop and carry over to the Overture theatrical distribution machine,” Clark said. “Although we will continue to be a leader in distributing children’s, fitness, horror, classic television and other genres of programming, our initiative to acquire and release films across multiple platforms is clearly an area where we can take our business to the next level. This new structure better aligns Anchor Bay’s growing and diverse home entertainment product lineup with Overture’s high-profile theatrical business.”

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