Why ‘Dead for a Dollar’ Producer Quiver Distribution Shifted Its Business Model

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Quiver Distribution got into the business of producing its own movies out of necessity.

“Our goal was to go out and acquire all rights to films and exploit them on as many media as possible,” says Berry Meyerowitz, the company’s co-founder. “But we found out that we couldn’t find as many high quality feature films as we needed, so we started making our own. We had to pivot our model. In order to be in control of our destiny we had to start putting these movies together.”

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It’s a lesson that other companies have been forced to learn. The rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Apple TV+ and HBO Max has resulted in boom times for content creators, one that’s seen the cost of buying finished movies grow exponentially. But it’s also left smaller players without the financial resources to land the hottest movies.

“There wasn’t enough and when there was good stuff, the competition made the prices stupid,” says Jeff Sackman, the company’s other co-founder.

So right before the pandemic hit, Quiver Distribution jumped into developing and creating its own movies. And it’s been able to field an impressive array of films, such as Walter Hill’s western “Dead for a Dollar” with Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe and Rachel Brosnahan; Neil LaBute’s “Out of the Blue” with Diane Kruger, and the recently released “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 of the budgets are under $10 million and the genres lean towards action and thrillers. Most boast stars with international recognition.

There’s something else that differentiates Quiver and requires them to ask tough questions before handing out a green light.

“We’re not public, we’re not backed by high-net worth individuals, we put our own money into these films,” says Meyerowitz. “We take the approach that every movie matters. We’re not a mutual fund. We can’t take a big swing on something and if we lose big, we’ll just make it up elsewhere. We can’t 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 though the model has shifted towards more in-house production, Quiver has been able to capitalize on the surge of new streaming players in other ways.

“There’s SVOD, AVOD, PVOD and, of course, as a distributor we go the more VODs the better, the more outlets the better,” says Sackman.

And the company has also tried to use it relatively nimble size to its advantage.

“We don’t have layers,” says Sackman. “It’s us. We commit and we go. There are 8,0000 meetings in Hollwyood every day about getting films made, and only 800 films get 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.”

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