Destination Films, a new production and distribution company in Santa Monica, is off to a fast start after signing Hollywood veteran Barry London as its president of marketing and distribution.
London spent 25 years as a top executive with Paramount Pictures, serving as vice chairman of Paramount’s motion picture group for three years before signing a production deal with the studio in 1996.
For London, the new job represents a chance to escape corporate life.
“I’ve never been involved in anything quite like this,” London said. “I am looking forward to the challenge of helping to make this company successful.”
Destination aims to produce, acquire and domestically distribute 12 mid-budget films next year, and 20 the year after. It has $100 million in funding from a subsidiary of insurance brokerage Willis Corroon, and it is seeking an additional line of credit of $100 million.
“I believe that this is the right time and place for an independent company to be very successful producing and distributing its own product,” London said. “The major studios are cutting back on the number of films they are producing, and there has been a rise in the interest of moviegoers. In the past, the numbers have been more or less constant any box-office increase has been in accordance with the raising of ticket prices. Now, attendance itself is growing.”
London will supervise the selection of a film’s release date, the number of theaters it will exhibit in, and the number of prints of the film to be produced. “Knowing how to market a film comes from understanding what the product is, and who your audience is,” London said. “We look to what kind of competition there is how many films are opening, what their release dates are that helps to determine the best time and place to put a film out.”
In addition, London will be in charge of publicity, media relations, previews, posters and anything else that is involved in bringing in the audience. “There are basically two aspects of marketing,” he said, “creating awareness of a project and creating interest for it.”
Upcoming Destination films include “Eye of the Beholder” starring Ewan MacGregor, “Loved” starring Sean Penn and William Hurt, and “Beautiful” starring Minnie Driver and directed by Sally Field.