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Overture Films chiefs Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett exit

July 1, 2010 |  8:23 pm

McGurkAdding to the drama at one of Hollywood's few remaining independent studios, Overture Films Chief Executive Chris McGurk and Chief Operating Officer Danny Rosett have left the company.

In a statement, Chris Albrecht, chief executive of Overture parent Starz LLC, said that McGurk and Rosett resigned on Thursday and that Peter Adee, president of worldwide marketing and distribution, would take over day-to-day operations.

The surprise move comes as the movie company and its sister home video distributor and animation studios, owned by John Malone's Liberty Media, have been on the sales block for six months.

The ongoing sales process has resulted in three bids, each one valued at more than $200 million, including the assumption of about $100 million in debt, according to a person familiar with the matter. Among the potential buyers are investors and brothers Alec and Tom Gores, who also made a bid for Miramax Films. Under the Gores plan, McGurk and Rosett, who previously worked together at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, would have remained in their positions to run Overture.

During its three-year history, Overture has had a mixed track record, including the hit thriller "Law Abiding Citizen" and the dud horror film "Pandorum." It has a library of only 16 films but would bring any buyer a potentially lucrative output deal with Liberty's pay cable channel Starz. Liberty's home video company Anchor Bay Entertainment has the rights to distribute about 2,500 DVD titles. Its animation assets are Film Roman and Starz Animation.

Overture's last release was action film "Brooklyn's Finest," which was released in March and grossed less than $30 million domestically. The studio has three films scheduled to come out this fall, including comedy "Jack Goes Boating," the directorial debut of Philip Seymour Hoffman; horror movie "Let Me In"; and the Robert DeNiro thriller "Stone."

However, given Malone's evidenced desire to exit the movie business, it's not clear whether the company would be able to provide adequate marketing support for those pictures to be released nationwide. Also unknown is the fate of the 70 employees at Overture, based in Beverly Hills.

-- Ben Fritz and Claudia Eller

Photo: Chris McGurk. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.

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