EXCLUSIVE: Several sources tell Deadline that UK distributor Revolver Entertainment is on the verge of going out of business with the fate of films on its release slate uncertain at the moment. Word making the rounds in Berlin and London is that the company may not exist in as little as two weeks, and chances of a turnaround are slim. Revolver has shed staff in recent months and key execs Nick Taussig and Paul Van Carter left to form their own outfit, Salon, last week. Calls to the company’s CEO were not immediately returned.
A shuttering of Revolver, which has had big success with cult hits like Shank and Anuvahood as well as recent documentary The Imposter, would put further strain on an already bleak picture for low-budget independent distribution in the UK. It would also create a hole in its specialized area — British fare with urban appeal — which is poorly represented in the local market. The collapse of retail giants HMV and Blockbuster is thought to have caused leaks in Revolver’s hull. An overrun of stock meant for the shelves of those stores, and matching promotional spends, created overhead challenges, one source said. Another source stressed that Revolver’s combination of talent and film selection is not at fault. They have been “hit by a series of unfortunate events.”
UK distribution is already experiencing shifts. The eOne takeover of Alliance resulted in key execs exiting and the absorption of distributor Momentum Films. (Contraction is not limited to the UK: French indie powerhouse MK2 just recently said it would stop distributing films.) We’re hearing, however, that a new UK distributor could emerge by Cannes. “I think people are falling into place,” one exec recently opined. Another tells us, “Adversity makes opportunity. Somebody smart will come in and take that space.”
Films on Revolver’s upcoming release slate include Citadel, Crawlspace, John Dies At The End and Spike Island. According to the website for Revolver’s production arm, Gunslinger, the company is in pre-production on three features: The London Syndrome, Bootnecks and Electric. A fourth, a biopic of bare-knuckle boxer Lenny McClean, travelled with producers Taussig and Van Carter to their new outfit.