SquareOne slate shapes up

German distributor adds to lineup

BERLIN — Munich-based distrib SquareOne Ent. is ramping up its acquisitions and executive production operations, picking up nearly a dozen features for its 2008 and 2009 theatrical slate, and pacting with Russell Mulcahy on his upcoming actioner “The Courier.”

Barry Levinson’s “The Saint,” starring James Purefoy, and Jeffrey Nachmanoff’s actioner “Traitor,” starring Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce, are among the high-profile titles in the distrib’s lineup.

The acquisitions, which also include Jieho Lee’s crime drama “The Air I Breathe,” with Brendan Fraser and Emile Hirsch, and Michael Cuesta’s sci-fi thriller “Tell-Tale,” starring Josh Lucas and Lena Headey, represent a dramatic growth spurt for the distrib and have resulted in restructuring measures throughout the company.

Stefan Litka, a former controller at pan-European broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1, has been named the company’s chief financial officer.

“With growth, comes change. We will be adding and changing staff to manage the increased activity across the board,” said SquareOne prexy Al Munteanu. “Having our new CFO in place is the first step. Stefan is a seasoned executive and will be instrumental in managing all growth initiatives.”

As part of its more aggressive strategy, SquareOne is getting involved in projects at a much earlier stage and investing in development and re-writes for a more hands-on approach at the creative level, as was the case with “The Courier.”

SquareOne is executive producing the pic, which is described as a franchisable property in the vein of “The Transporter,” about a courier who transports “special” parcels.

Other new titles on SquareOne’s distribution slate include Martha Fiennes’ thriller “Blown,” starring Samual L. Jackson; Milla Jovovich starrer “The Fourth Kind”; horror feature “Descent 2”; and Daniel Lee’s ancient China epic “Three Kingdoms.”

Partnering with a number of independent German distribs, SquareOne will next release Bryan Bertino’s hit horror thriller “The Strangers,” starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman, via Kinowelt, followed by James Watkins’ “Eden Lake,” which will be handled by Senator Film Verleih.

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