By Asher Lethbridge-Simon


Company Information [2]

1540 2nd Street, Suite 200,

Santa Monica, CA 90401 United States

Phone Number – 310-315-1722

Website –

Email –

Twitter –

Facebook –

Overview [3]

FilmDistrict is an independent private media company that focuses in film production, distribution, and acquisition. Originally founded by current CEO Peter Schlessel in September of 2010, FilmDistrict has released 16 films since its inception. The company releases an average of 6-8 films per year across a wide breadth of genres. Although they cover a variety of genres, all of FilmDistrict’s films feature well-known filmmakers with a renowned cast.

Company Executives [4]

CEO – Peter Schlessel [26]

COO – Adrian Alperovich [27]

President of Marketing – Christine Birch [28]









After being founded in 2010, FilmDistrict quickly struck a deal with Netflix to host their films on the streaming service. [5] Under this arrangement films released by FilmDistrict would be available to stream on Netflix just a few months after DVD release. This deal was followed by the release of FilmDistrict’s first film, Insidious in April of 2011. Insidious was hailed as a truly scary movie with warnings from The Wall Street Journal, “Just don’t go in alone.”[6] In addition to critical success, Insidious was the most profitable film of 2011, raking in over $100 million worldwide on a budget of just over $1 million. [7]

FilmDistrict found success again with Drive, the modern crime drama starring Ryan Gosling. Adding to incredible critical success, Drive was ranked in the top 10 movies of 2011 by Roger Ebert [8], Drive grossed $77,560,689 worldwide on a budget of $13 million. [9] Other notable films released by FilmDistrict have been indie comedy Safety Not Guaranteed, sci-fi thriller Looper, and the remake of horror classic Evil Dead.

In April of 2013, FilmDistrict launched subsidiary company High Top Releasing. High Top Releasing provides distribution assistance for indie producers. Through High Top Releasing producers can access help with “sales, in-theater marketing and print-control support, film-rental negotiation and collection capabilities.” [10] Currently two films have been released through High Top Releasing, I’m in Love with a Church Girl and The Ultimate Life.


FilmDistrict is not a publicly traded company nor does it release financial information on their website, but below are the film budgets compared to worldwide gross of all of FilmDistrict’s 2012 and 2013 releases. [11] Films marked with an asterisk (*) did not receive a worldwide release.

2012 Films

Lockout – $20 Million Budget / $32,204,030 Worldwide Gross / +$12,204,030

Safety Not Guaranteed* – Budget Unavailable / $4,010,957 Domestic Gross / N/A

Looper – $30 Million Budget / $176,506,819 Worldwide Gross / +$146,504,819

Red Dawn* – $65 Million Budget / $44,806,783 Domestic Gross / -$20,193,217

Playing for Keeps* – Budget Unavailable / $13,102,272 Domestic Gross / N/A

2013 Films

Parker* – $35 Million Budget / $17,616,641 Domestic Gross / -$17,383,359

Dead Man Down Budget Unavailable / $18,074,539 Worldwide Gross / N/A

Olympus Has Fallen – $70 Million Budget / $161,025,640 Worldwide Gross / +$91,025,640

Evil Dead – $17 Million Budget / $97,542,952 Worldwide Gross / +$80,542,952

Insidious: Chapter 2 – $5 Million Budget /$148,869,949 Worldwide Gross / +$143,869,949

Right Here, Right Now

Corporate Restructuring

While FilmDistrict still has one more film slated for 2013 release, there has been some corporate restructuring taking place. Recent layoffs at Focus Features and the removal of CEO James Schamus has sparked an absorption of FilmDistrict. [12] Current CEO of FilmDistrict Peter Schlessel will be succeeding Schamus as the new CEO of Focus Features. Joining Schlessel in moving to Focus Features are his fellow executives, Adrian Alperovich as COO, Christine Birch as Marketing Prexy, Jim Orr as Head of Distribution, and Lia Buman as Head of Acquisitions. [13]

FilmDistrict will continue to release upcoming films Oldboy and That Awkward Moment under the FilmDistrict name, but films slated for release after January of 2014 (Pompeii and Walk of Shame) are expected to be released by the newly structured Focus Features as FilmDistrict will be shutting down. [14]

FilmDistrict Coming Attractions

Oldboy [15]


The Spike Lee remake of the classic Korean cult film is scheduled to be released on November 27th of 2013. Oldboy is an action thriller with a darker tone than most. The film stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Samuel L. Jackson. Joe Ducett (Brolin) is held captive for 20 years in a hotel room and then mysteriously released. After his release he goes on a hunt to discover why he was imprisoned and by whom.

While some fans worry about their favorite movie being altered, Samuel L. Jackson assured fans that while it is a remake, it is not the same film as its predecessor, “There are so many things that are different and so many things that are similar, in theme, yes, in execution, not so much.” [17] See Oldboy in theaters November 17th, 2013.

View the trailer here

That Awkward Moment [18]


That Awkward Moment is a romantic comedy starring Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan. Directed by Tom Gormican, the film revolves around three single guys who pledge to remain out of relationships in an act of solitude for their recently broken up friend. As they each each find girlfriends they struggle to keep their relationships a secret from one another to avoid breaking their vow.

While superstar Zac Efron is no stranger to the big screen (High School Musical 3: Senior Year, 17 Again) this is director Tom Gormican’s first feature film. He co-produced the raunchy hit Movie 43 and will be bringing some of that originality to his first feature. See That Awkward Moment in theaters January 31st, 2014 .

View the trailer here

FilmDistrict News

After record breaking openings, the Insidious series has established itself as a franchise and now the third chapter has a confirmed release date. [20] Insidious: Chapter 3 is scheduled to be released on April 3rd of 2015. Insidious was the most profitable film of 2011 [21] and Insidious: Chapter 2 had the second biggest September debut of all time in 2013. [22] Expect big things from the third film in this trilogy.


While fans still have to wait until November 17th to see Oldboy, FilmDistrict has published part 1 of a graphic novel called The Devil’s Eyes that functions as a prequel to Oldboy. [24] The graphic novel will come in 3 parts that detail the backstory to Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the film. The Devil’s Eyes part 1 is currently available for free on Oldboy’s Tumblr site with the next two installments coming soon. This is fitting as the original Korean Oldboy was based on a 1996 Japanese manga.






[2] ibid

[3] ibid