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ENTERTAINMENT
October 21, 2013 | By Ryan Faughnder
Layoffs have begun at Focus Features. Employees in the specialty label's New York and Los Angeles locations were told Monday whether they would lose their positions, though it is not known how many jobs will be cut. Focus, an imprint of Universal Pictures best known for such films as "Brokeback Mountain," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Atonement" and "The Kids Are All Right," is also considering closing its London office. Focus Features currently has a total of 103 employees, 43 of whom work in Los Angeles, while 44 are in New York and 16 work in London.  ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll Earlier this month, Universal picked FilmDistrict founder Peter Schlessel  to replace James Schamus as Focus' chief executive, and the company last week announced multiple changes to Focus' executive team, including the  departure of its  co-Chief Executive Andrew Karpen.  As it works to expand its slate to include more wide-release films, the label is moving its headquarters from New York to the Universal lot in Los Angeles but will maintain a small presence in New York after the move.
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ENTERTAINMENT
February 27, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
The movie financed by audiences will soon be available to audiences.  Zach Braff's “Wish I Was Here,” funded in part by more than 46,000 donors on Kickstarter, will hit theaters in Los Angeles and New York on July 18, distributor Focus Features said Thursday. It will roll out to other cities in the weeks following, The date means Focus, which acquired the movie at the Sundance Film Festival last month, will position the relationship-oriented “Wish” as a summer counter-programmer -- call it an emotional tent pole -- a la “Little Miss Sunshine,” instead of dating it for the early fall, when it would be out of the cross-hairs of the big summer movies but somewhat more dependent on reviews.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 9, 2012 | By Steven Zeitchik
"The Place Beyond the Pines," one of the hottest acquisition targets coming into the Toronto International Film Festival, has landed at Focus Features. The company, which paid several million dollars for the right to distribute the movie, aims to release the film in 2013. The movie stars Ryan Gosling as an outlaw bank robber and Bradley Cooper as an idealistic cop. The epic family tale, which played strongly at its world premiere Friday night, marks the return of director Derek Cianfrance after his 2010 critical darling “Blue Valentine.” Earlier on Sunday Cianfrance told The Times he thought 2013 was a good window for the movie, giving Focus time to build awareness for what is a sprawling and unconventional family story.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 21, 2013 | By Ryan Faughnder
Layoffs have begun at Focus Features. Employees in the specialty label's New York and Los Angeles locations were told Monday whether they would lose their positions, though it is not known how many jobs will be cut. Focus, an imprint of Universal Pictures best known for such films as "Brokeback Mountain," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Atonement" and "The Kids Are All Right," is also considering closing its London office. Focus Features currently has a total of 103 employees, 43 of whom work in Los Angeles, while 44 are in New York and 16 work in London.  ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll Earlier this month, Universal picked FilmDistrict founder Peter Schlessel  to replace James Schamus as Focus' chief executive, and the company last week announced multiple changes to Focus' executive team, including the  departure of its  co-Chief Executive Andrew Karpen.  As it works to expand its slate to include more wide-release films, the label is moving its headquarters from New York to the Universal lot in Los Angeles but will maintain a small presence in New York after the move.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 15, 2013 | By Daniel Miller
As part of its ongoing makeover, Focus Features announced a slew of executive changes Tuesday afternoon, including the departure of co-Chief Executive Andrew Karpen. Earlier this month, parent Universal Pictures set into motion an overhaul of the specialty imprint, naming FilmDistrict founder Peter Schlessel its new head.  Schlessel, FilmDistrict's chief executive, will assume the CEO role at Focus in January.  James Schamus , Focus' current chief executive, departed the company, whose headquarters are being relocated from New York to the Universal lot. PHOTOS: Highest-paid media executives of 2012 Focus is best known for such films as "Brokeback Mountain," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Atonement" and "The Kids Are All Right.
BUSINESS
December 11, 2010 | By Claudia Eller and Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
Universal Pictures is in talks to sell its specialty film label Focus Features to investor brothers Alec and Tom Gores, according to people familiar with the matter. The discussions, which are still in an early stage, call into question whether the film studio will hold on to its independent film division as it is swallowed by cable giant Comcast Corp. next year. The Gores, who separately run their own private equity firms, have ambitions to build an entertainment empire by cobbling together film libraries and other media assets.
BUSINESS
May 25, 2010 | By Claudia Eller, Los Angeles Times
Focus Features remains one of the rare specialty film companies tied to a major studio. And at the moment, it has more to brag about than its parent Universal Pictures. Focus celebrated Mother's Day with the better-than-expected debut of its feel-good documentary "Babies," which chronicles the lives of four infants around the world from birth to first steps. The movie company, known for such unconventional hits as "Brokeback Mountain" and "Lost in Translation," also has one of the most anticipated independent movies of the summer coming July 7, the family comedy-drama "The Kids Are All Right" starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple whose two teenage kids seek out their sperm donor.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 7, 2008 | Josh Getlin, Times Staff Writer
The Deal Random House Films, in tandem with Focus Features, options Beth Raymer's "Lay the Favorite, Take the Dog," an unpublished memoir about her odyssey through the world of sports betting. The Players Raymer is represented on literary rights by Andrew Blauner (Blauner Books Literary Agency) and on film rights by Creative Artists Agency. The book will be published in 2009 by Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House Inc. The Backstory In gambling, as in book-to-film deals, timing is everything.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 10, 2010
"Iron Man 2" may have soared to the top of the box office this weekend, but "Babies" crawled to a respectable start as well. Focus Features opened its documentary with a title as self-explanatory as they come at 534 theaters, nowhere close to the record-breaking 4,380 for "Iron Man 2" but enough for a presence in most major cities and suburban markets. It sold a studio-estimated $1.6 million worth of tickets. On Friday night, most of the movie's money came from highbrow art-house theaters that typically play documentaries.
BUSINESS
May 20, 2006 | Lorenza Munoz, Times Staff Writer
In the world of specialty films, success often comes in pairs. Harvey and Bob Weinstein built Miramax into an indie powerhouse. Sony Pictures Classics, which puts more foreign films into theaters than any other distributor, is run by Tom Bernard and Michael Barker. Then there are James Schamus and David Linde, whose four years at the helm of Focus Features, Universal Pictures' specialized film label, culminated with the 2005 hit "Brokeback Mountain."
ENTERTAINMENT
October 15, 2013 | By Daniel Miller
As part of its ongoing makeover, Focus Features announced a slew of executive changes Tuesday afternoon, including the departure of co-Chief Executive Andrew Karpen. Earlier this month, parent Universal Pictures set into motion an overhaul of the specialty imprint, naming FilmDistrict founder Peter Schlessel its new head.  Schlessel, FilmDistrict's chief executive, will assume the CEO role at Focus in January.  James Schamus , Focus' current chief executive, departed the company, whose headquarters are being relocated from New York to the Universal lot. PHOTOS: Highest-paid media executives of 2012 Focus is best known for such films as "Brokeback Mountain," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Atonement" and "The Kids Are All Right.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 3, 2013 | By Joe Flint
After the coffee. Before seeing if "Super Fun Night" did super good. The Skinny: I think 10 p.m. Wednesday is available for me if anyone has any suggestions on what to watch. I'm throwing in the towel on "Nashville. " Maybe I'll finally finish "Orange is the New Black. " Thursday's headlines include a restructuring at Focus Features. Also, Comcast buys the Black Tower and AEG is cleared of any wrongdoing in Michael Jackson's death. Daily Dose: It looks like the ABC drama "Lucky 7" about how winning the lottery changes the lives of seven people will have the dubious distinction of being the first show canceled this season.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 5, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik
EXCLUSIVE: Another horse looks to be joining the 2013-14 Oscar race. "The Dallas Buyers Club," the long-gestating AIDS drama starring Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, is close to a distribution deal with Focus Features, according to two people familiar with the discussions who were not authorized to talk about them publicly. The Universal Pictures specialty division is negotiating to pick up domestic and select international rights to the movie and would release it in the U.S. before the end of the year, the people said, positioning it and its actors for award consideration.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 29, 2012 | By Richard Verrier and Meredith Blake, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
Hurricane Sandy has put a temporary halt to film and TV production in New York City. New York City officials announced that all film permits in the city have been revoked for Monday and Tuesday because of "Hurricane Sandy and continuing safety precautions," according to a statement from the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. "There will be no City authorized outdoor filming within the five boroughs. " At least nine TV shows were affected by the shutdown, including "Blue Bloods" (CBS)
ENTERTAINMENT
September 9, 2012 | By Steven Zeitchik
"The Place Beyond the Pines," one of the hottest acquisition targets coming into the Toronto International Film Festival, has landed at Focus Features. The company, which paid several million dollars for the right to distribute the movie, aims to release the film in 2013. The movie stars Ryan Gosling as an outlaw bank robber and Bradley Cooper as an idealistic cop. The epic family tale, which played strongly at its world premiere Friday night, marks the return of director Derek Cianfrance after his 2010 critical darling “Blue Valentine.” Earlier on Sunday Cianfrance told The Times he thought 2013 was a good window for the movie, giving Focus time to build awareness for what is a sprawling and unconventional family story.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 21, 2012 | By Amy Kaufman and John Horn
In many summer movies, some superhero prevents the world's end. There's no superhero in “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” and there's nothing that can be done to avert Judgment Day. Focus Features nevertheless believes its unusual, R-rated romantic comedy is perfect summer fare. In one of the season's bolder scheduling moves, the studio will open “Seeking a Friend” in wide release this weekend opposite Pixar's “Brave” and Fox's “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” “I always think counter-programming is a really good idea, partly because you get kind of bored of the same genre of film over and over again,” said Keira Knightley, who stars in the $10-million film opposite Steve Carell.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 10, 2004 | Lorenza Munoz, Times Staff Writer
In Hollywood there is no shortage of strange bedfellows. But could it be that the same people who brought you "The Pianist" and "Lost in Translation" are behind a B-level horror movie about a homicidal redheaded doll? Indeed, come Nov. 12, "Seed of Chucky" will be playing in a theater near you, courtesy of Rogue Pictures, the genre label Focus Features launched earlier this year.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 5, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik
EXCLUSIVE: Another horse looks to be joining the 2013-14 Oscar race. "The Dallas Buyers Club," the long-gestating AIDS drama starring Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, is close to a distribution deal with Focus Features, according to two people familiar with the discussions who were not authorized to talk about them publicly. The Universal Pictures specialty division is negotiating to pick up domestic and select international rights to the movie and would release it in the U.S. before the end of the year, the people said, positioning it and its actors for award consideration.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 2011
'Jane Eyre,' the film starring Mia Wasikowska that is based on Charlotte Brontë's novel, debuts in limited release in Los Angeles and New York and achieves the highest per-theater average box office of any film this year. 'Lofty 'Eyre' Just like its strong-willed heroine, "Jane Eyre" is proving to be a quiet but powerful force. The new Focus Features film based on the 19th century Charlotte Brontë novel debuted in only four theaters this weekend and generated the highest per-theater average of any film this year.
BUSINESS
February 11, 2011 | By Amy Kaufman and Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
One of the reigning kings of comedy is hoping that he won't be upstaged by a pint-size teen idol this weekend at the box office. Adam Sandler's romantic comedy "Just Go With It" will face off against "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," a 3-D documentary and concert movie that trails pop star Justin Bieber on his tour last summer. Not that it looks to be an even match-up. "Just Go With It," which also stars rom-com staple Jennifer Aniston and supermodel-turned-actress Brooklyn Decker, will probably beat out Bieber.
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