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Rogue's gallery unveiled

Focus Features launches a new unit to handle genre films.

March 25, 2004|R. Kinsey Lowe

Seeking to tap the lucrative action-thriller-urban genre audience, specialized film label Focus Features is launching Rogue Pictures to handle those broad-appeal films at some remove from the artier, more sophisticated fare offered by the distributor of Academy Award winners "Lost in Translation" and "The Pianist."

Dimension Films, the genre division of Miramax Films, is the model for Rogue. Dimension has generated considerable cash flow for Miramax with titles such as the "Scream" and "Scary Movie" series as well as "Mimic" and "The Crow," to name a few. Similarly, Focus is a unit of Vivendi Universal, and Miramax is a quasi-independent unit of the Walt Disney Co.

For its debut film, Rogue plans a pre-Halloween release for "Seed of Chucky," which sprouted from parent company Universal Pictures' evil doll series. Directed by Don Mancini, "Seed of Chucky" is filming in Romania and Los Angeles and stars Jennifer Tilly, Redman, Hannah Spearritt, John Waters and the voices of Billy Boyd and Brad Dourif (who encores as Chucky).

Production begins next month on Jean-Francois Richet's remake of "Assault on Precinct 13," which stars Ethan Hawke, Busta Rhymes, Laurence Fishburne, Maria Bello, John Leguizamo, Drea de Matteo, Gabriel Byrne and Brian Dennehy.

Rogue also has secured domestic rights to a Jet Li action drama produced by French filmmaker Luc Besson. The untitled film, directed by Louis Leterrier, is slated for a 2005 release.

Focus executives and staff, led by co-presidents James Schamus and David Linde, will manage all Rogue and Focus movies.

Among the Rogue projects in active development are the murder-mystery "The Horsemen," a new version of "The Changeling" and the thriller "Revolver."

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