After percolating for several months, Icon UK’s return to distribution has finally come together. New Sparta Ltd, an investment company founded by Jerome Booth, has acquired Icon Film Distribution UK and Icon Home Entertainment UK from the Icon UK Group which pulled out of the distribution business in 2011 to focus on in-house film finance and production. The new IFD is still staffing up, but Icon exec Ian Dawson will be CEO of the venture with Norman Humphrey as executive chairman and COO. Zak Brilliant is head of theatrical, Ray Primett is head of home entertainment and Sarah Brady is operations manager. The purchase by Sparta, which has interests in publishing, insurance and telephony, will include titles released though IFD’s output deal with Lionsgate, and the UK library. IFD will be acquiring third-party films for all media. Among the first titles is the upcoming James Wan-directed Demonic.
Since eOne’s acquisition of Alliance eliminated a buyer in the UK market – and with the disappearance of Revolver – a new player had been expected to emerge. Alliance’s Momentum and eOne used to give one another a run for the money, and an overwhelmingly common refrain in the past year has been that there is a real opportunity for another distributor to surface. (more…)