Quiver Distribution isn’t a major name in the entertainment business, but that is gradually changing as the Canadian entertainment company has managed to snag a series of notable projects and used the pandemic to bolster its library of content.
Launched in 2019 by former eOne executive Berry Meyerowitz and former Lionsgate Films president Jeff Sackman, Quiver enjoyed success with the release of the Kevin James comedy “Becky” and “Crisis,” a thriller starring Gary Oldman and Evangeline Lily, both of which were released in select theaters before rising to the top of the VOD charts. “Crisis” also took the top spot at the speciality box office when it was released on Feb. 26. Quiver’s upcoming releases include the off-beat comedy “The Exchange” (pictured) and “The Survivalist,” an action-thriller starring John Malkovich and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The goal, Meyerowitz told Variety, is to release one to two movies monthly, which will add up to roughly 20 movies annually. Most of these movies are the kind of mid-budget fare, touching on genres like thrillers or comedies that major studios have largely vacated in favor of superhero flicks and big, branded IP. That’s created an opportunity for a relatively new player like Quiver.
“We’re trying to work on bigger movies with better filmmakers and casts in order to drive revenue across the ecosystem,” says Meyerowitz.
On the series front, Quiver recently released “Paradise City,” a music drama starring Andy Biersack, Bella Thorne and Cameron Boyce.
Quiver didn’t just release films during COVID. It also beat out nearly 40 other companies to buy Kew Media Distribution’s library of 1,000 titles — a list of films and TV series that includes “Rules of Engagement” and the BBC drama “Line Of Duty.”
“I like to joke that we won the bidding, not because we have the best personality but because we paid the most,” says Meyerowitz.
But unwinding that sale wasn’t always a smooth process, with some filmmakers and producers claiming that the rights to their movies shouldn’t be included in the auction.
“There’s always a lot of unhappy people when you buy assets in administration,” says Meyerowitz, who said that the library has been “curated down” to 700 titles that will give Quiver “a well-rounded approach to the entire business.”
Most of the company’s new releases debut in theaters at roughly the same time that they hit on-demand platforms. That approach has become more popular during COVID, when companies like Disney and WarnerMedia have experimented with a similar release pattern for major films like “Black Widow” and “Wonder Woman 1984.” They’ve been doing it to bolster in-house streaming services like Disney Plus and HBO Max, but the effect has been to further accelerate customers’ shift to online video platforms.
“It’s become even more mainstream now than it was a year ago,” says Meyerowitz. “The notion of watching a movie or a series at home is much more straightforward, and people are much more comfortable doing it, so I think that will continue to grow the pie for everyone.”
It also has caused theater chains, which are desperate for movies to screen as they try to battle back from coronavirus closures, to be more open to screening movies that are simultaneously available on-demand.
“There will be a lot of theaters that are looking for high quality films,” says Meyerowitz. “That makes me bullish about expanding our business from a production standpoint, from a distribution standpoint, and from a library standpoint.”
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