BREAKING: Exclusive Media co-chairman/CEO Nigel Sinclair and Guy East have finalized their exits, and Marc Schipper has taken the reins as new Exclusive CEO. Insiders say that Sinclair and East will resurface very quickly with White Horse Pictures, a company that will focus on the production of quality feature films and TV programming. The name comes from the prehistoric hill figure known as the Uffington White Horse. The duo had been on the outs with the company’s majority owners who no longer wanted to take big bets in the production business after a few films didn’t hit. The company has downsized since, and for instance exited the Johnny Depp Whitey Bulger film Black Mass, which Warner Bros acquired to distribute worldwide.
Backed by the Dutch investment fund Dasym Investment Strategies, Exclusive has laid off most of its production department, but it has a strong library of over 1000 and will move forward primarily as a library and sales company. After Deadline dropped the bombshell at Berlin that Sinclair and East would be leaving, subsequent reports put the blame squarely on the Ron Howard-directed Rush. I don’t think that film was the main reason. Though a disappointment in the U.S., the film was hardly a disaster, its $90 million worldwide gross double its $40 million budget, with risk spread among multiple partners.
Of their Exclusive experience, Sinclair said: “We’ve had seven extraordinary years of building this company and we are proud of the creative achievements and the creative culture that has been built up. I also will say that we are thankful to our investor, Dasym, for sticking by us while we built this company and all the people who helped turn it into a place that was able to make films like The Quiet Ones, Ides Of March, Snitch, Woman In Black, Can A Song Save Your Life? and Rush.”
Insiders said that as part of the divorce settlement, Sinclair and East will produce a few projects with Exclusive that includes a film biopic of The Who drummer Keith Moon and the Charlize Theron-starrer Dark Places (which is in postproduction). They will also hang on to a small library of six music documentaries including the one Martin Scorsese directed on George Harrison, and some development projects that include one on the formative years of Julius Caesar that is based on the book trilogy by Conn Iggulden that Lee Daniels is being courted to direct.
Exclusive has several promising films in the pipeline that include Dark Places; the Scott Frank-directed Liam Neeson-starrer A Walk Among The Tombstones which Universal releases this fall; the John Pogue-directed The Quiet Ones which Lionsgate releases in April; Can A Song Save Your Life?, which just got a new title in Begin Again and will be released by The Weinstein Company July 4 weekend; and the sequel Woman In Black: Angel Of Death.