Signature launches new label; plans first wide theatrical release

1 December, 2015 | By Andreas Wiseman | Screen Daily

UK distributor sets animation Norm Of The North as first wide theatrical release.

Growing UK distributor Signature Entertainment has launched a new home entertainment label and set its first wide theatrical release.

Signature intends to release family animation Norm Of The North on more than 250 screens next March 18, backed by the company’s largest P&A spend to date.

The acquisition signals a shift in company structure for the expanding outfit, which will launch home entertainment label Precision Pictures in Q2, 2016 with the ambition to release at least one title each week.

From that date, Signature will focus on theatrical releases, be they day-and-date, event or wide releases.

The Precision slate will include espionage thriller Damascus Cover staring Jonathan Rhys Myers, and sci-fi Andron staring Alec Baldwin and Danny Glover.

Signature MD Marc Goldberg told Screen the company anticipates acquiring 15 to 20 films a year onto its Signature label.

In 2016, a handful of those are expected to be wide releases, with more added in future years.

Precision is expected to release between 45 to 60 films per year.

Goldberg said: “Our aim is to keep pushing ourselves and in 2016 Signature will become identified with bigger titles with a focus on theatrical releasing.

“When you look at the numbers, the non-theatrical market isn’t down and as there continues to be vast opportunities to acquire commercial content, Precision Pictures will allow us to exploit this product in the UK market.”

Acquired from Good Universe, Norm Of The North follows a polar bear who, along with his lemming sidekicks, goes to New York City to stop a property developer from destroying the Arctic.

Voice cast includes Rob Schneider (50 First Dates), Heather Graham (Austin Powers), Ken Jeong (The Hangover), Colm Meaney (Get Him to the Greek), Loretta Devine (Crash), Gabriel Iglesias (Magic Mike), Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones) and Bill Nighy (Love Actually).

Produced by Splash Entertainment in association with Assemblage Entertainment, Telegael and Yang Yang, Lionsgate will release the film in the US in January 2016.

Signature last month inked a six-film deal with Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films.

The ambitious outfit currently comprises 17 full-time staff. Elizabeth Williams is head of acquisitions while former eOne exec Jon Bourdillon runs the company’s digital division.