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UNIVERSAL PICTURES AND POLYGRAM ENTERTAINMENT FORM NEW NORTH AMERICAN MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION ENTITY GRAMERCY PICTURES, RUSSELL SCHWARTZ NAMED PRESIDENT

- ENTERTAINET - TO BUSINESS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITORS:

UNIVERSAL PICTURES AND POLYGRAM FILMED ENTERTAINMENT FORM NEW NORTH
 AMERICAN MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION ENTITY GRAMERCY PICTURES
 Russell Schwartz Named President
 UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Universal Pictures and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment have formed Gramercy Pictures, a new company to market and distribute theatrical motion pictures in the United States and Canada, it was announced today by Michael Kuhn, president of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, and Tom Pollock, chairman of the MCA Motion Picture Group.
 Russell Schwartz, former executive vice president of Miramax Films, has been named president of Gramercy Pictures effective June 1. Schwartz will be relocating to Los Angeles to head up the new venture.
 The company will concentrate on the North American marketing and distribution of films supplied by both partners. PolyGram's releases will come from its production affiliates -- which include Propaganda Films ("Wild at Heart," "Truth or Dare"), Working Title Films ("My Beautiful Laundrette," "Wish You Were Here," "A World Apart") and A&M Films ("Birdy," "A Midnight Clear") -- in line with the company's four- point plan for expanding its film business, which it announced last September.
 The new company has been established to serve the specialized needs of pictures which are not generally well-served by 1,000 print releases with saturation television advertising, according to Pollock.
 "Many good movies, with enormous box-office potential, require a more nurturing marketing and distribution process," he explained. "This new company was especially created to do just that."
 Jim Tauber, president of Propaganda Films, and Fred Bernstein, senior vice president of the MCA Motion Picture Group, were the primary architects of the joint venture between PolyGram and Universal.
 Current plans are for the new company to handle the theatrical release of up to eight films a year, with the number of releases expected to increase in the future. Theatrical distribution outside the United States and Canada, as well as the domestic ancillary markets, will be handled by PolyGram and Universal outside of the joint venture. Universal Pictures' theatrical release schedule of some 20 pictures per year will not be diminished by the films it expects to supply to the new entity.
 "PolyGram is committed to producing entertaining pictures which do not necessarily rely on exploitive high concepts or expensive stars," said Kuhn, "but we are not in the business of making 'art house' movies either. We don't believe that the only alternative to major studio releases is the 'classic division' approach. The kind of specialized marketing and distribution we are dedicated to creating goes far beyond the classics division, art house approach. We are delighted that Universal shares our view that creating an independent marketing and distribution organization under Russell Schwartz's stewardship is the best means of pursuing that goal."
 "We are pleased to have PolyGram as our partner in this venture," said Pollock. "PolyGram is a major worldwide entertainment company whose constituent affiliates have demonstrated a commitment to the production of the very kind of pictures for which this new venture was created. We both share a common understanding of the need for this company, and between us, we should have the critical mass of pictures to allow Russell Schwartz to build an extraordinary release schedule."
 To maximize operational efficiencies and limit overhead, the new company will utilize certain administrative services provided by Universal's distribution system. However, the company, under Schwartz, will be solely responsible for developing and implementing all of the marketing campaigns and release strategies for its pictures, as well as maintaining exhibitor relations and securing theater bookings.
 Over the past two and a half years at Miramax and six years at Island Pictures and Island Alive, Schwartz has been involved in the marketing and release campaigns for such films as "My Left Foot," "Cinema Paradiso," "The Grifters," "Madonna: Truth or Dare," "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "River's Edge" and scores of others.
 "I welcome this enormous opportunity to work with these two dynamic companies who have shown consistent dedication to quality and innovative films," said Schwartz. "After many years in the trenches of independent filmmaking and distribution, I know the creative resources of these two companies provide for limitless possibilities and the assurance that quality filmmaking will survive into the future."
 PolyGram Filmed Entertainment is a division of global record and entertainment group PolyGram (NYSE: PLG). Gramercy Pictures will be headquartered in Los Angeles.
 -0- 5/20/92
 /CONTACT: Alan Sutton of Universal Pictures, 818-777-4598; or Dawn Bridges of PolyGram, 212-333-8357, or Larry Winokur, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, 310-278-1460/
 (PLG) CO: Universal Pictures; Polygram Filmed Entertainment ST: California IN: ENT SU: JVN


EH-AL -- LA014 -- 2288 05/20/92 11:10 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 20, 1992
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