Tom Ortenberg has put together his executive team for Open Road Films, the indie film distribution company launched by theater chains AMC and Regal. As Deadline told you last month, former executive vice president of Worldwide Marketing for Miramax Jason Cassidy is Open Road’s new president of marketing. Ortenberg also named Elliott Kleinberg General Counsel and exec veep of operations and business affairs, Steven Andriuzzo as chief financial officer, and Ben Cotner as senior veep of acquisitions. Deadline also reported that Liz Biber will head publicity, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.
“These key hires mean that we’re open for business,” Ortenberg told Deadline. “We’re fully operational, and we’ll be out in full force in Tribeca and Cannes shopping for new product.”
Cassidy started at Miramax in 1997. Kleinberg was COO at United Artists; Andriuzzo was at Paramount as senior veep of planning and finance for the domestic home entertainment division, and before that headed corporate finance and was Motion Picture Group controller at DreamWorks. Cotner previously served as exec director of acquisitions and co-productions at the Paramount Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group. Before that, he worked at Paramount Vantage and Paramount Classics.
Ortenberg launched Open Road with plans to acquire and distribute films that can play in wide release on about 2,000 screens. The goal is to release the first three films by the fall, and 8 to 10 films per year when the company is up and running. Part of the plan is for those pictures to play on screens owned by AMC and Regal, two of the largest theater chains in the U.S. The chains make their distribution play at a time when their chief executives have been among the most vocal exhibitors speaking out against plans by four studios to create a pay window with DirectTV that will allow subscribers to pay $30 to watch films 60 days after they open in theaters.
Below is official release:
Los Angeles, CA, April 13, 2011 – Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg today announced the first round of executive hires for the company including Jason Cassidy in the key role of President of Marketing. In addition, Ortenberg named Elliott Kleinberg General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Operations and Business Affairs; Steven Andriuzzo, Chief Financial Officer; and Ben Cotner as Senior Vice President of Acquisitions.
Said Ortenberg, “This group of talented professionals brings an impressive breadth of experience to our new venture and will allow us to hit the ground running. Jason Cassidy is the perfect candidate to help us build new marketing models and convert consumer intent into theatrical attendance. Elliott Kleinberg has a terrific understanding of the motion picture business that will aid us in building relationships between Open Road and the rest of the entertainment community.
“Steven Andriuzzo’s expertise in motion picture finance and home entertainment specifically will be of great benefit to us. Additionally, we are fortunate to have been able to attract a rising star in the acquisition community, Ben Cotner, to help us identify and attract the kinds of movies we are looking for as we build Open Road Films.”
Cassidy said “I am absolutely thrilled to join Tom and the rest of the Open Road team at the outset of this innovative venture. The sky is the limit and I’m truly excited to be part of a new distribution model.”
Founded earlier this year by AMC Entertainment Inc. (AMC) and Regal Entertainment Group (Regal), the two largest theatrical exhibition and entertainment companies in the United States, Open Road Films is a dynamic, acquisition-based domestic theatrical distribution company.
As previously announced the company will distribute approximately eight to ten movies per year and expects to release its first film later in 2011. Additional key executive hires are expected to be announced in the near future.
Jason Cassidy most recently served as Executive Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Miramax Films, where he began work in 1999. He spearheaded campaigns for over 100 movies at Miramax including “No Country For Old Men”, “Gangs of New York”, “Chicago”, “The Queen”, “Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2” and “Adventureland”. Prior to his career at Miramax, Cassidy was Director of Marketing at USA Films. He started his film industry career at October Films.
Prior to joining Open Road Films, Elliott Kleinberg served as Chief Operating Officer of United Artists, where he was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the company, and oversaw all aspects of the financing, distribution and exploitation of company product, business and legal affairs, human resources and investor, shareholder and lender relations. Before his tenure at United Artists, Kleinberg was a partner at the law firm of Kleinberg Lopez Lange Cuddy Edel & Klein.
Steven Andriuzzo joins Open Road Films from Paramount Pictures, where he served as Senior Vice President of Planning and Finance for the Domestic Home Entertainment division. Before joining Paramount, Andriuzzo spent several years with DreamWorks LLC where he served as Head of Corporate Finance and Motion Picture Group Controller. He also played a key financial role in IPO of DreamWorks Animation.
Before joining Open Road Films, Ben Cotner was Executive Director of Acquisitions & Co-Productions at Paramount Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group, where he acquired domestic-anchored films for Paramount Pictures and all affiliated labels including Vantage, Insurge and MTV Films. Previously Ben worked in various acquisitions roles at Paramount Vantage and Paramount Classics.