Why ‘Dead for a Dollar’ Producer Quiver Changed His Business Model
Quiver Distribution got into producing its own films out of necessity.
“Our objective was to acquire all the rights to the films and to exploit them on as many media as possible,” explains Barry Meyerowitz, co-founder of the company. “But we found we couldn’t find as many high-quality feature films as we needed, so we started making our own. We had to rotate our model. In order to control our destiny, we had to start assembling these films.
It’s a lesson other companies have been forced to learn. The rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Apple TV+ and HBO Max has brought about a boom time for content creators, which has seen the cost of buying finished movies rise exponentially. But it has also left smaller actors without the financial resources to land the hottest movies.
“There weren’t enough of them, and when there was good, competition made prices stupid,” says Jeff Sackman, the company’s other co-founder.
So, just before the pandemic hit, Quiver Distribution embarked on developing and creating its own films. And it was able to present an impressive line-up of films, such as Walter Hill’s ‘Dead for a Dollar’ western starring Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe and Rachel Brosnahan; Neil LaBute’s “Out of the Blue” starring Diane Kruger, and the recent “As They Made Us,” which marks the directorial debut of “The Big Bang Theory” actress Mayim Bialik and stars Dianna Agron, Simon Helberg and Candice Bergen. Most budgets are under $10 million and genres lean towards action and thrillers. Most boast of having internationally recognized stars.
There’s something else that sets Quiver apart and forces them to ask tough questions before giving the go-ahead.
“We’re not public, we’re not backed by wealthy individuals, we’re investing our own money in these films,” Meyerowitz says. “We take the approach that every movie matters. We are not a mutual fund. We can’t take a big swing on something and if we lose big we’ll just make it up somewhere else. We cannot afford to be wrong.
Launched in 2019 by former eOne executive Berry Meyerowitz and former Lionsgate Films president Jeff Sackman, Quiver operates out of Canada. Even as the model shifted to more in-house production, Quiver was able to capitalize on the rise of new streaming players in other ways.
“There’s SVOD, AVOD, PVOD and of course as a distributor we go the more VOD the better, the more outlets the better,” says Sackman. .
And the company has also tried to use its relatively nimble size to its advantage.
“We don’t have diapers,” Sackman explains. “That’s us. We’re stepping in and we’re going. There are 8,0000 meetings in Hollwyood every day to get movies made, and only 800 movies are made every year. We want to help with that. We’ll give you the creative freedom you want.But the budget has to be right and the numbers have to add up.