Making A Killing…

Monday, October 24 2011
Making A Killing…

The high profile DVD release of The Killing 2, the much anticipated follow up to the hit TV show of the year, due in December, marks the next stage in the development of the ambitious Arrow operation. 

The Arrow Films brand is not a new one to the market, in fact it’s one of the film business’ longest survivors in the independent sector, boasting more than 20 years in the industry.

But the way it’s attacked the market from all sides and with different kinds of product heralds a new chapter in the company’s history.

Its current slate goes from increasingly mainstream and bigger budget theatrical to DVD outings, of which recent release Perfect Sense is a good example, through to its burgeoning Arrow Video imprint which specialises in horror and mainstays from the golden age of VHS, sumptuous packages put together with great care and, dare we say it, a real love of genre fare – and a world cinema imprint, Arrow Academy, that again gives classic films the kind of release treatment they deserve.

But the company decided to look beyond the confines of the areas it was already involved in. Arrow’s Alex Agran said: “On the other side, we wanted to grow the business, with selective DVD premieres and smart theatrical titles. We have had to change our business as the whole industry moves on.”

Along the way has found a really lucrative area in TV brands. In addition to The Killing and Wallander, Arrow will be releasing Borgen, which is the next hot property from the Danish producers of The Killing and is described by many as “the Danish West Wing”. Coming out in Q2 next year is The Bridge, a police procedural thriller series that continues the very strong tradition of Scandinavian crime series

And it’s an ongoing process too. Every film market in the past year or more has seen the company’s amiable acquisitions supremo Tom Stewart returning from overseas with a clutch of impressive new signings. 
So what’s the story then? 
“The first-run titles we were releasing were sporadic,” explains Arrow’s Alex Agran. “We had some strong world cinema releases, a solid back catalogue and we’ve now got three very successful labels in Arrow Video, Arrow Academy and now Arrowdrome in addition to the TV product. Due to the love and attention each title takes, we’ve had to put additional dedicated resource in these areas to continue to give the fans more Arrow product.”

It helps that Arrow as a brand has built strong relationships over the years with many companies. And in Tom Stewart it has an acquisitions executive who knows, from his experience at the likes of Metrodome and High Fliers, what works at theatrical, DVD and increasingly through digital platforms.
“We’ve aggressively upped our game and become more dynamic, selective and savvy very very quickly,” explains Agran. “We’ve also plans to add to new members of staff to the team  – so watch this space.”

Why now though? If you were to read the national newspaper or listen to any financial analyst, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the market was all but dead. But Arrow (like us at The Raygun) knows better than that. 
”You can stand still or you can move with or ahead of the market – we’ve found formulas that work and that’s no mean feat in today’s climate,” concludes Agran.

Here’s some of the titles due from Arrow in 2012…

The Killing Season 2

The second outing for the Scandinavian cop programme that has had critics and audiences raving. It’ll arrive just before Christmas, following the UK transmission, which will again happen on BBC4, the flagship for the series.

Shadow Of The Sword

Medieval historical actioner, the kind that traditionally performs well as a home entertainment offering.

NYC Tornado

From the same team who brought you Meteor Storm…

Super Eruption

A special effects-friendly disaster flick.

King Of Devil’s Island

A Norwegian film that will benefit from a 10 print or so theatrical release early in 2012, ahead of a home entertainment bow.


The first six feature length outings for the Scandinavian detective pulled together in one box set.


More Nordic noir (also known as Scandinoir), with this series that plays something like a Scandinavian take on The West Wing


Matt Smith, better known as Doctor Who, stars alongside Eva Green in this film which will benefit from a one print theatrical outing.

Perfect Sense

A recent high profile cinema release, starring Ewan MacGregor.

The Shrine

Inventive horror flick.

Oba The Last Samurai

This Japanese historical epic, with added Hollywood involvement, will benefit from a limited theatrical release.

In The Name Of The King: Two Worlds

All kinds of sword and sorcery goings on, with Dolph Lundgren involved.

The Bridge

Tipped to be the next The Killing, is a 10-part investgative crime thriller that begins when the body of a woman is found in the middle of the Oresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark. A bi-national team is put together to solve the crime and the killer, always one step ahead of the police, becomes the object of a dramatic manhunt.

The Heineken Kidnapping

Hugely controversial Dutch film, based on a real-life story. It is one of the Netherlands’ biggest ever releases, also marks Rutger Hauer returning to his European roots.

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