U.K. film distributor Metrodome, whose slate includes Kristen Stewart starrer “Personal Shopper,” has gone into “administration” — the U.K.’s version of Chapter 11 — a legal status that grants an insolvent company protection from its creditors.
Metrodome is now in the hands of accountancy firm Cowgill Holloway, with many of the staff pink-slipped today, according to unconfirmed reports. The status of Metrodome’s upcoming theatrical release slate, which includes Berenice Bejo starrer “The Childhood of a Leader” and Terence Davies’ “A Quiet Passion,” is unclear, although U.K. distributor 101 Films has picked up the rights to many of Metrodome’s titles.
Warning signs have been evident for some months. In March, the CEO of Metrodome, Mark Webster, was reported to be looking for a buyer for the company, and in July, managing director Jezz Vernon stepped down as the company attempted to “streamline” its management structure.
Metrodome’s troubled state reflects that of many smaller independent distributors, who are being forced to walk a tight-rope every time they release a pic. Exhibitors continue to refuse to allow release windows to be collapsed, so denying distributors the chance to release films in theaters and on-demand at the same time. If they could do this, they would maximize returns from their advertising and publicity campaigns, which might be enough to keep them afloat.
Metrodome also runs Hollywood Classics, which handles the rights to vintage movies, and international sales company Metrodome International, whose slate includes Stephen Fry adaptation “The Hippopotamus.”