sidney-kimmel-1.jpg </ Even rag trade billionaire Sidney Kimmel has heard that he's getting out of the movie business. He told me today he's cutting back, changing his bank deal, and probably allowing his distribution deal with MGM to expire -- but <em>not</em> planning on shuttering his film company. Though Kimmel does acknowledge that all those changes probably fueled the buzz that he was fed up losing money on films on the eve of the opening of his R-rated teen comedy pic <em>Charlie Bartlett</em> which MGM is distributing this weekend. (The film was postponed from a 2007 release date. It'll probably make only a paltry $3M.)</p>  <p>Just in December, <em>The New York Times</em> fawned all over the chairman and largest shareholder of the $5 billion Jones Apparel Group because of his 3-year-old film company. But Sidney Kimmel Entertainment has lost tens of millions of dollars bankrolling indie films like <em>Talk To Me</em>, <em>Death At A Funeral</em>, <em>Lars And The Real Girl</em> and <em>The Kite Runner</em> which all tanked at the box office. Every time I write about this rag trade billionaire’s indie film company, it’s getting smaller by restructuring. Now Sidney Kimmel Entertainment is consolidating its foreign sales operations with former Paramount Vantage prez Nick Meyer’s new Sierra Pictures. As a result, Meyer’s company and NY-based Kimmel International are both moving to SKE’s Beverly Hills headquarters. And Kimmel International head Mark Lindsay has resigned to remain in New York. Bingham Ray, SKE’s President of Creative Affairs, who has maintained a bi-coastal status, will be spending more time in Los Angeles. “Sierra will immediately handle all sales and servicing of the existing Kimmel International titles as well as future SKE projects to be announced imminently,” the news release said. “The consolidation enables SKE to focus exclusively on its core business of developing, financing and producing motion pictures.” SKE President Jim Tauber was quoted as saying, “Nick has a stellar track record in the foreign sales business from Sony to Lions Gate and we couldn’t be more pleased that we can be a ground floor tenant in his new enterprise.” And Meyer himself stated, “We look forward to a long and prosperous association together.” SKE has financed and produced, both independently and with studio partners, 18 features since Kimmel founded the company in 2004, including recent releases Management, Adventureland, Synecdoche, New York.

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