‘Hostiles’ Distributor Byron Allen, On Growing A Movie Company In Difficult Times For Indies

Today, Entertainment Studios has broadened its awards season release of Hostiles, the Scott Cooper-directed Western that stars Christian BaleRosamund Pike and Wes Studi. It is the biggest prestige film play so far for Entertainment Studios, the company owned by Byron Allen, who is moving aggressively into the movie business space after establishing himself in a way similar to Merv Griffin, for whom television syndication was the fulcrum for his other ambitions. Allen said his company’s goal is to release as many as 17 feature films in 2018, including Hostiles and two others he bought at the Toronto Film Festival, Chappaquiddick and the Keanu Reeves-starrer genre film Replicas. Allen, the only African American owner of a movie studio releasing theatrical films and backing them with healthy P&A spends, explains why he’s bullish on the indie film game.

DEADLINE: You came out of Toronto with the shocking Ted Kennedy expose Chappaquiddick under your arm, and that was going to be your big awards season film to follow your summer breakout hit 47 Meters Down. You moved that picture into spring, 2018 and today you broaden the release of Hostiles. There was an understanding during Toronto that whoever acquired to release Hostiles would have to be quick, since Christian Bale has that Dick Cheney movie with Adam McKay coming next season. What happened?

BYRON ALLEN: Chappaquiddick is an amazing movie. The world changed, shortly after Toronto and the [Harvey] Weinstein blow up happened in a big way. The press started tying the two together.

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