With just one film to show for its work over the past few years, Starz! is
ending its foray into original cable films.
After establishing a dedicated
unit in Beverly Hills to develop original cable films, a spokesman for the
premium-TV service said the operation is 'winding down.'
The office for the four-person Starz! Pictures unit was headed by Paige
Orloff, who resigned earlier this summer.
This past March, Starz! Pictures sent its only fully developed project to the
small screen -- the well-received Joe and Max, a dramatization of the
fights and friendship between heavyweight-boxing competitors Joe Louis and Max
Schmeling, which carried a budget of some $8 million.
Starz! Pictures will continue to bring fresh fare to complement Starz!'s
lineup of studio films by investing in so-called busted theatricals, the most
recent example of which is Billy Bob Thornton film Badge.
Sources said Starz! Pictures had, over its run, up to one-dozen projects in
various stages of development, with Up for Hatred, a biography about
Lloyd Cochran, a leader of the Aryan Nation, and The Riverman, a look at
the search for serial killer Ted Bundy, the furthest along.
The resources being used to fund the original telefilms will now be
reallocated to Starz Encore Group LLC's efforts in the video-on-demand and
subscription-VOD arenas, according to sources.
The move away from original cable films does not mark the end of Starz!
Entertainment, which has been involved with co-productions like Tortilla
Soup and the upcoming Skins, which opens in theaters Sept. 27.
Similarly, sources said, Starz Encore will continue to make documentaries
supporting its multiplex channels, as well as its Director series,
chronicling the works and careers of top filmmakers.