With theatrical indie distrib companies on the decline in the past year, Freestyle Releasing has seen a boom in its biz as a distrib-for-hire.“Our acquisition execs are sifting through 10 to 15 DVDs a week,” says Freestyle co-topper Mark Borde. “Unlike a couple of years ago, we’re able to pick and choose the films that are submitted to us.” During these recessionary times, an abundance of prestige titles with bigger stars are flowing Freestyle’s way, such as period pic “My One and Only” with Renee Zellweger and comedy “Motherhood” with Uma Thurman and Minnie Driver. While the marketing spend per film is largely dictated by the size of a producer‘s wallet, Freestyle has carved a reputation for easily targeting auds with one- and two-quadrant films, such as its top horror hits “The Haunting of Molly Hartley” ($13.4 million) and “The Collector” ($7.5 million). “Hartley,” starring Chace Crawford of TV’s “Gossip Girl,” reaped its domestic B.O. from a Halloween release date and a PG-13 rating — a huge plus in terms of wooing “Gossip” fans to the film. Another niche wonder was last summer’s wine comedy “Bottle Shock” ($4.1 million). The pic was marketed through wine bars and arthouse movie trailers. B.O.: $24.4 million TOP PIC: “The Haunting of Molly Hartley” ($13.4 million) TOPPERS: Mark Borde, co-prexy; Susan Jackson, co-prexy; Mike Simon, general sales manager UP NEXT: “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” (Sept. 25), “Motherhood” (Oct. 16)
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