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Annapurna, MGM Joint Distribution Venture Rebrands as United Artists Releasing

Annapurna Pictures and MGM have doubled down on their joint distribution venture, rebranding the operation as United Artists Releasing. MGM has long owned the storied UA label, which turns 100 on Tuesday.

The newly named entity will proceed with its planned slate, led by the 25th installment in the James Bond franchise — in theaters next year — as well as Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” and a contemporary reboot of the killer-doll franchise “Child’s Play.” The venture also seeks to offer a third-party distribution alternative to the major studios and streaming companies, in the vein of projects like the upcoming Hugh Jackman family film “Missing Link” from the stop-motion studio Laika.

“I could not be more excited to have the opportunity to expand this releasing venture under the iconic banner that is United Artists. Annapurna was founded with a very similar intent … to provide a home for artists and their creations in hopes of moving our culture forward,” Annapurna CEO Megan Ellison said.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Bond franchise home to United Artists,” added MGM Motion Picture Group president Jonathan Glickman. “The United Artists brand is a natural fit, as our joint venture was founded around the same principle as its namesake: to help filmmakers maintain financial and artistic control.”

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Forged in December 2017, the venture has released eight titles total, including “Creed II” and Annapurna’s awards players “Vice” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

United Artists Releasing will continue with added support from the distribution team of Orion Pictures (another MGM holding), led by Kevin Wilson under Ellison and MGM’s chief operating officer Chris Brearton. The venture will be advised by a board of directors comprised of executives from both companies, including Annapurna’s marketing head David Kaminow and distribution chief Erik Lomis. Former Screen Gems executive Pam Kunath has been named COO of United Artists Releasing.

Senior members of Annapurna’s theatrical releasing team will also join United Artists Releasing, including publicity head Adriene Bowles, advertising executive Michael Pavlic, and head of media Anne Yoo.

UAR will set up shop in West Hollywood, central to both Annapurna and MGM. The New York team will work out of Annapurna’s Manhattan offices in SoHo.

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