Malik Ali’s Chicago-based MPI Media Group is launching a new theatrical distribution division, MPI Pictures, to initially handle six to eight theatrical releases per year.  The newly formed theatrical division will focus on foreign-language films, indies and high-end genre and American independent pics.

Greg Newman, executive vice president of MPI Media Group, will oversee the new theatrical arm, while Marie Therese Guirgis, who has been consulting with MPI for several years, will act as the head of theatrical distribution. Marketing executive Dan Goldberg and distribution exec Emily Woodburne have also been hired to help steer the inaugural releases.

MPI’s initial slate includes Guillaume Canet’s French fare “Little White Lies,” starring Oscar winners Jean Dujardin and Marion Cotillard; Mathieu Demy’s “Americano,” which stars Salma Hayek; and Eric Lartigau’s thriller “The Big Picture,” starring Romain Duris and Catherine Deneuve.  Also on the menu are “Fightville” and “Bag of Hammers,” the latter of which will be released May 11, while Victoria Mahoney’s “Yelling to the Sky” and Maarten Treurniet’s “The Heineken Kidnapping” are being tabbed for release in early 2013.

MPI Media Group has been around for years and is primarily known as a home video distributor with a sizable library.  Now that they have broken new ground, be sure to look for MPI reps ardently purchasing at this year’s Cannes, and for their newly acquired titles to pop at a theater near you.




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