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HBO & New Line Acquire Newmarket

Time Warner sister companies HBO and New Line Cinema have acquired independent distributor Newmarket Films and hired its chief, Bob Berney, to run a new venture, reports REUTERS. Newmarket is best know for taking the risk in releasing Mel Gibsons THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, which earned more than $350 million at domestic box offices via grass-roots marketing aimed at religious groups. Other big releases for Newmarket included WHALE RIDER and MONSTER.

Financial details were not disclosed. Additionally, the new company's name, the number of films it will distribute and any job reshuffling have not been decided upon. However, the new firm will be based in New York City.

Fine Line Features and Newmarket will make up the company, which will release HBO Films productions. New Line will remain separate.

"This is completely consistent with the goal we've stated for us, to evolve into a multifaceted entertainment company. It helps bring HBO Films to the next level," HBO ceo Chris Albrecht said in a teleconference with reporters.

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