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Skouras picks up ‘Watch It,’ ‘Joey Breaker’ for U.S.

Skouras Pictures has acquired North American distribution rights to director Tom Flynn’s “Watch It” and producer/director/writer Steven Starr’s “Joey Breaker” with plans to distribute the two movies in February 1993, sources confirmed yesterday.

Homevideo distribution rights to the two movies go to Paramount Pictures, as part of Skouras’ exclusive overall homevideo distribution pact with the studio (Daily Variety, July 9, 1990).

The “Watch It” and “Joey Breaker” acquisitions underscore the Beverly Hills-based Skouras’ renewed push into domestic theatrical distribution.

In 1992, the company released “Highway 61,””Hunting” and “I Don’t Buy Kisses Anymore.” Next year, Skouras plans to roll out a total of eight theatrical releases–“Watch It” and “Joey Breaker” are the first two pix on the slate.

“With the current difficulties in the independent arena, I don’t see more than a handful of companies with full slates for 1993,” company chairman Tom Skouras said.

“Our ability as an independent to work with a studio such as Paramount allows us to acquire higher-profile pictures and, if appropriate, access the studio’s distribution channels.”

As part of its renewed emphasis on theatrical distribution, Skouras is searching for a distribution topper to replace Gail Blumenthal, who left the company to join IRS Media. Skouras said the company expects to announce her successor within the next few weeks.

Executive produced by David Brown (“Driving Miss Daisy”) and William S. Gilmore, “Watch It” is a romantic comedy about three practical jokers sharing a Chicago house and their relationships with the women in their lives.

Produced for roughly $ 3 million, “Watch It” stars Peter Gallagher and features John C. McGinley, Suzy Amis, Tom Sizemore, Lili Taylor, Cynthia Stevenson and Jon Tenney.

Skouras said “Watch It” will be rolled out to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in mid-February. After two weeks, the pic will go to the top 20 markets on its way to a 70-market release.

A River One Films production, “Watch It” was produced by Thomas Mangan IV, Christopher Burch and John C. McGinley. Island World partnered with River One Films on the movie and holds international distribution rights.

In the “Joey Breaker” scenario, Skouras’ acquisition of filmmaker Steven Starr’s pic was brokered by International Creative Management agent Robert Newman. ICM is in the process of selling foreign rights to the movie.

“Joey Breaker” marks 35-year-old Starr’s first go-round as a filmmaker, following an 11-year career at the William Morris Agency. The autobiographical pic recounts Starr’s days at WMA, and centers on an unlikely pair falling in love.

Skouras said “Joey Breaker” will be released to New York and Los Angeles initially, with a slower roll-out than “Watch It.” Pic will eventually reach at least the top 30 markets.

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