Trimark lays off

Field distribution staff axed as releases dry up

Reflecting a sharp reduction in its wide-release schedule, Trimark Pictures has laid off its entire field distribution staff.

The company previously employed three regional distribution reps and three support staff members to handle bookings and collections in the eastern, midwestern and southern U.S.

Trimark will now return to its previous policy of contracting distribution execs on a picture-by-picture basis.

The move follows the departure last month of senior VP, theatrical distribution Roger Lewin who was hired in 1996 to oversee the company’s push into wide-release distribution.

Change in strategy

Stung by such box office disappointments as “Meet Wally Sparks,” “Star Kid” and “Sprung,” Trimark has shifted its strategy to emphasize the acquisition and production of upscale specialized and niche product.

“We’re not out of the wide release business altogether but we’re going to do it a little more selectively,” said Tim Swain, exec VP of distribution. “When we had a busier wide-release schedule, it made sense to put the guys on full-time status. All of the wide-release work for this year is done, so we felt the most prudent thing to do was go back to non-exclusive arrangement.”

Trimark’s distribution team now consists of Swain; Ray Price, senior VP; Bill Sanders, VP theatrical sales/general sales manager; Wayne Case, manager theatrical sales; and Chantal Smith, senior director of sales operations.