Killer Elite set for major US release through Open Road Films

12 May, 2011 by Brendan Swift

Open Road Films will distribute Australian action-thriller Killer Elite, which stars Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro, in the US across more than 2000 theatres.

The Omnilab Media-financed film, which will be one of the biggest Australian features shown in North America in recent years, is set for a Fall release and will be supported by over $25 million in print and advertising (P&A) spend.


"There aren't many Australian films that have had that sort of release – and that's just the minimum," Omnilab Media managing director Christopher Mapp said.

It is the first film to be distributed by the newly-launched US distribution venture Open Road Films – a joint venture by major theatre companies AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment Group.

It will also be the first Omnilab-backed film where it has not contributed or paid for P&A costs. Distributors usually pay for P&A but recoup their outlay (and fee) ahead of private investors.

"This is a different film – we have turned up the dial to another level where when you're just a little bit off-the-dial with this, sometimes you need to put in P&A to drive the best deal," Mapp said. "But we were able to get a deal from a number of distributors that really said the P&A is so secure on the modelling that … it's really just a cash-timing situation."

The $66 million Killer Elite – based on Sir Ranulph Fiennes' non-fiction novel The Feather Men – was filmed in Melbourne last year as well as Paris, Wales, London, Dubai and Oman.

"There are a number of fantastic Australian cast and crew who have worked on this … by getting a huge North American release like this, it's massive for their resumes," Mapp said.

The film, which has been supported by the 40 per cent Producer Offset government rebate, will be completed by June 30.

Australian distribution rights have yet to be sold but Omnilab is expecting strong demand. "It will only be with someone that has the right vision and capability to release a wide film of this nature," Mapp said. The film notched up significant pre-sales for most territories before and during production via sales agent, Inferno Entertainment.

Killer Elite follows special-ops agent Danny (Jason Statham), who is lured out of self-imposed exile to execute a feat of retribution and personal salvation. He reassembles his old team of operatives to help rescue his former mentor (Robert DeNiro), and to infiltrate the British Special Air Service (SAS).

Facing off against a covert group of ex-SAS soldiers known as “The Feather Men,” who, under their leader Spike (Clive Owen), provide a deadly cloak of security around all SAS members, Danny and his team must take down a rogue cell of solider assassins before their actions result in a global political meltdown.

Open Road Films chief executive Tom Ortenberg said Killer Elite is a fantastic, adrenaline-rush movie with a stellar cast. Omnilab previously worked with Ortenberg on The Bank Job and W, while he was working at distributor Lionsgate.

The deal was negotiated on behalf of Open Road by Ortenberg, general counsel and executive vice president of operations and business affairs Elliott Kleinberg and senior vice president of acquistions Ben Cotner, and by executive producers Matthew Street and Peter D. Graves on behalf of Omnilab Media.

Robert De Niro and Jason Statham in Killer Elite.