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Sony Forms New Movie Division

December 08, 1998|Bloomberg News

Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Entertainment said it's forming a new division to distribute about six low- to medium-budget genre and specialized movies a year.

The label, called Screen Gems, will release films that fall between Sony's more mainstream Columbia Pictures division and its Sony Pictures Classics art-house label, which typically releases films costing less than $10 million. Screen Gems' releases might include genre product such as horror and teen-oriented films, as well as independent projects developed by emerging filmmakers.

Sony, which released such movies as "Men in Black" and "The Mask of Zorro," said it is creating the new division to help it expand beyond its traditional slate of movies. The move comes as other major media companies are generating strong profits from their smaller, specialized film distributors.

The new label will open a couple of years after Sony closed a similar low-budget movie division, called Triumph Releasing, after a spotty record at the box office.

Screen Gems, unlike Triumph, will have its own marketing chief, allowing the label to focus more on promoting the films and tailoring them to specific audiences, a Sony spokeswoman said.

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