Avi Lerner Biography
With over 250 films to his credit, Avi Lerner , co-chairman of Nu Image/Millennium Films, is one of the most experienced producers and distributors of independent film in the international motion picture industry.
Born and raised in Israel, Lerner’s career in the film business began as the manager of Israel’s first drive-in cinema. He acquired a chain of movie theaters while simultaneously producing several low-budget features. He anticipated the explosion of home video rental in 1979 and pioneered the largest specialized video distribution company in Israel and became a partner in the largest theatrical distribution company in Israel.
In 1984, he was executive producer in Zimbabwe of the remake of King Solomon’s Mines and the sequel Alan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold. He sold his Israeli company and relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he founded the Nu Metro Entertainment Group. He went on to own and operate theaters, a video distribution division representing top studios and independent companies, and a production arm that made over 60 features in Zimbabwe and South Africa which were distributed worldwide by major studios.
Lerner’s next professional moves were to sell Nu Metro and to join MGM United Artists while still producing movies. A year later he moved to Los Angeles where he founded Nu Image with Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short and Danny Lerner. A string of successful films followed until Nu Image developed and maintained an enviable reputation as a producer and distributor of high quality, low budget action pictures for the international and domestic markets.
In 1996 Nu Image formed Millennium Films to address the market’s growing need for quality theatrical films and higher budget action features, while Nu Image continues to cater to the lucrative international home video market. Between the two divisions, over 230 films have been produced since 1992. Under the Millennium films label, Lerner has produced numerous titles, which include Lonely Heart, starring John Travolta; Black Dahlia, with Hillary Swank; 16 Blocks, starring Bruce Willis; 88 Minutes, starring Al Pacino; The Contract, with Morgan Freeman; John Rambo, directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone; and Righteous Kill, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
Lerner and Nu Image/Millennium Films currently develop finance, produce and distribute approximately 15 – 18 pictures a year with budgets ranging from three to 60 million dollars, shooting in locations allover the world.