UPDATED WITH ARROW STATEMENT, JUNE 20:
“As a business in an increasingly challenging distribution world, we have had to look hard at our business and make some tough decisions about how to take the business forward. Both Jon Sadler and Tom Stewart have been incredible ambassadors for the company and their work and service will always be hugely appreciated by me and I am sure their legacy will remain in the company for a long time.
Over the years, from a release point of view, we have done pretty much everything – wide theatrical releases, arthouse theatrical releases, DTV, re-issues, digital exclusives, drafting lines, International TV series, TV Documentaries….and that’s just on new release.
On our catalogue side on Arrow Video and Arrow Academy, we have sustained and grown a formidable slate of product in 5 territories that continues to be the global benchmark in the industry of premium packaged and digital content.
Arrow Films is now expanding on these brands – these are businesses which we can build upon in a meaningful way. For the last 8 years these labels have gone from strength to strength and in recent years played host to a clutch of new release acquisitions, including Hounds of Love, The Villainess, We Are the Flesh and The Ghoul.
We leveraged the large devoted followers of the label to break new and established talent across a variety of genres and grow the business by looking at smart genre films that fit the label’s fanbase with titles like the Cannes sensation – CLIMAX by Gaspar Noe.
Not only are we continuing to acquire the best of content from our partners, but we are investing significantly in areas that drive customer engagement in our releases and add incremental revenue streams don’t necessarily fit traditional distribution models.
Our vision is to bring the world’s finest genre and cult content to audiences. This we are doing via an extensive events programme, a membership offering to our customers, a programme of self-produced short-form content as well as bringing in a local team in the US to drive our distribution plans over there. We are also expanding our third-party sales service offering to companies that can benefit from our multiple direct to consumer platforms.
The business is now fully focussed on its strategy where once it was stretched too wide, we look forward to the new growth plans being achieved by the company.”
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, TUESDAY 19 JUNE: UK distributor Arrow Films is streamlining operations with the departure of long-time executives Tom Stewart and Jon Sadler.
Stewart has been Arrow Films acquisitions director since 2010, while Sadler has been marketing director since 2012. Both left the firm yesterday and aren’t being immediately replaced, I understand.
Stewart, a veteran of UK distribution firms including Metrodome, High Fliers and Fremantle, picked up movies including Gaspar Noé’s Cannes 2018 title Climax, Margot Robbie starrer Terminal and Gillies MacKinnon’s breakout Whisky Galore. Sadler, formerly of Metrodome, oversaw successful campaigns for the likes of Danish drama Love Is All You Need and the aforementioned Whisky Galore.
Stewart, who is exploring next moves in the business, told us that he wanted to “thank industry for their support” during his tenure and that he had “honestly loved the experience and was so very proud of my own personal achievements and being able to watch Arrow Films grow into the formidable company that it is today.”
The apparent streamlining comes as we understand from industry sources that Arrow will look to focus attention away from higher-risk, wider theatrical releases.
The firm is an important local player in the arthouse, foreign language and UK indie space, releasing movies including Like Father, Like Son and The Hunt while current theatrical release Edie, starring Sheila Hancok, has taken $350,000 after three weeks. Upcoming feature releases include Aku Louhimies’ The Unkown Soldier. The company made Cannes 2017 title Blade Of The Immortal the widest UK opening for an arthouse foreign language title last year, releasing it on 111 screens, but theatrical returns were meagre.
Like many, the valued home ent specialist has needed to redirect attention after the industry-wide decline in physical revenues. In December, the firm launched Arrow TV, a curated SVOD service for its strong library of international TV series including Scandinavian crime dramas The Killing, Wallander, Borgen and The Bridge and French hit The Bureau.
In business since 1991, family-owned outfit Arrow operates in UK, Ireland, US and Canada and is overseen by CEO Alex Agran. It is a leading restorer of classics such as Cinema Paradiso, Donnie Darko and Hellraiser and has been big in the box set business. Today’s news, however, is further indication of the challenges faced by distributors in an expensive and polarized UK market which has sadly seen a drastic decline in the arthouse space. Arrow was unavailable for comment.