HBO, which launched Picturehouse in 2005 as a 50-50 venture with New Line, is looking to reevaluate its relationship with the specialty unit.
Reps from all the entities said Wednesday that a significant reorganization of the venture’s structure was possible in the near term but no decision had been made, although HBO conceded that talks have been taking place.
Under the restructuring, Picturehouse would become a subsid of New Line. New Line already performs the back-office functions for Picturehouse, and a reorg would not entail a physical relocation of the company from its midtown Manhattan HQ.
Picturehouse is topped by Bob Berney, who reports to New Line’s Michael Lynne and HBO Films’ Colin Callender.
HBO, for its part, stressed Wednesday that nothing will change for the time being, and even a major reshuffle would not reduce its equity stake in Picturehouse.
Popular on Variety
HBO signs off on every title released by Picturehouse — no matter its source — but HBO Films also finances and initiates projects that are then offered for release through the distrib. The relationship between Time Warner cousins New Line and HBO dates back to such titles as 2004’s “Maria Full of Grace.”
Some HBO-backed pics haven’t fared nearly as well as that Oscar-nommed pic, among them “Starter for 10,” “Rocket Science” and “The Notorious Bettie Page,” while a few Picturehouse pickups, including “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “La Vie en rose,” both of which had HBO as an equal partner with New Line, have clicked.
One irritant of late has been “Sugar,” the follow-up to “Half Nelson” from directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. Set for a hotly anticipated screening at Sundance, the film was financed by HBO, which in recent years would have meant that Picturehouse would be its likely home.
But HBO does have the contractual right to go elsewhere, and given “Nelson’s” status as the ultimate Sundance success story, the net granted the filmmakers’ wish to bow “Sugar” in Park City.
Also in the mix to some degree has been the management shuffle at HBO last year in the wake of topper Chris Albrecht’s abrupt exit.