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Lionsgate, Which Brought You Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11', Now Brings You Dinesh D'Souza's 'America'
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Lionsgate, Which Brought You Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11', Now Brings You Dinesh D'Souza's 'America'

May 8 2014, 3:30pm CDT | by

The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline are reporting that Lionsgate (Lions Gate Corp.) has picked up domestic distribution rights to Dinesh D’Souza’s America. D’Souza’s last project, 2016: Obama’s...

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11 weeks ago

Lionsgate, Which Brought You Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11', Now Brings You Dinesh D'Souza's 'America'

May 8 2014, 3:30pm CDT | by

The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline are reporting that Lionsgate (Lions Gate Corp.) has picked up domestic distribution rights to Dinesh D’Souza’s America. D’Souza’s last project, 2016: Obama’s America, grossed $33 million in July 2012 from Rocky Mountain Pictures, which made it the second-highest grossing political documentary of all-time, behind Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. That Moore polemic earned an eye-popping $119m ten years ago, brought into theaters by none other than Lionsgate. That Lionsgate, the studio that partially made its name via the acquisition and distribution of the controversial left-leaning propaganda piece will now attempt a similar trick with an apparent conservative propaganda film is somewhat ironic. But it’s also a reminder that in a blue-state/red-state nation, the only color Hollywood cares about is green.

Back when Lionsgate was Lions Gate, they partially made a name for themselves by picking up hot-potato films like Kevin Smith’s Dogma and the aforementioned Fahrenheit 9/11. The latter’s massive success led to a mini-boom of progressive/liberal documentaries, many of them (The US Vs. John Lennon, Religious, Deliver Us From Evil, etc.) distributed by Lionsgate. One of the reasons I’ve always liked the studio is that they often do what we all claimed studios should be doing, using the profits of their pop entertainments to fund the production or distribution of smaller, more prestigious pictures or targeted demo theatrical releases. When I bought a ticket to Saw III, I was helping to fund to theatrical distribution of Akeelah and the Bee or Away From Her. When I bought a ticket to The Hunger Games, I was helping to fund the targeted theatrical release of Roadside Attractions films like Gimme Shelter.

Hollywood has again noticed the strong profits they have earned by smaller releases that target specific demographics. They noticed when Pantelion Films (aligned with Lionsgate of course) took Instructions Not Included to a record-breaking $44 million in America ($99m worldwide) by specifically offering the kind of mainstream character comedy to Hispanic moviegoers that white moviegoers take for granted. Sony successfully sold Think Like A Man in 2012 as an all-star ensemble romantic comedy that just happened to feature African-American actors to the tune of $91m in America off a $12m budget. We’ve all noticed the deluge of mainstream religious pictures that have popped up this year, as God’s Not DeadHeaven Is For Real, and Son of God have earned a combined $193m worldwide on a combined budget of $36m.

The House That Jigsaw Built is dropping this D’Souza piece in limited release on June 27th, or ten years to the weekend that they dropped Michael Moore’s anti-George W. Bush screed during the heart of Bush’s reelection campaign. Like the Moore documentary, it will go wide over July 4th weekend. I don’t know how limited the June 27th release will be, but I do know that Fahrenheit 9/11 scored $23.9 million on its opening weekend back in June 2004, breaking a record for a debut under 1,000 screens that had been held since Rocky III back in 1982 (20th Century Fox's Borat bested it with $26m on 868 screens in November 2006). I won’t presume to presume that America can pull off the same trick, but the release pattern is not a coincidence.

The America acquisition is yet another sign that Hollywood is again starting to realize, for arguably the first time since the relative DVD meltdown in the mid-2000′s, that there is real money to be made by serving famished demographics. For what it’s worth, this is not about politics. Lionsgate wasn’t motivated by liberalism to pick up Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko and they were not motivated by conservatism to distribute 2016: Obama’s America on DVD and now handle the wide theater release of America. We should remember that the same company that owns Fox News also airs The Simpsons and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Regardless of politics or creed, there is real money, potentially large profits for comparably small investments, producing and/or distributing smaller-scale pictures that target so-called “niche” audiences beyond the traditionally targeted demographic of young white males. It’s the same mindset that led Sony to distribute Heaven Is For Real or Soul Surfer, led Paramount to distribute The Kings of Comedy back in 2001, and led Lionsgate to distribute Keven Hart: Let Me Explain last 4th of July weekend. Regardless of your thoughts on Mr. D’Souza and/or his politics, a true diversification of mainstream theatrical fare is a good thing. I probably won’t see America in theaters. But as a champion of a vibrant and diverse theatrical marketplace, I’m glad it’s getting a wide release. When we see more targeted sells at more demographics, moviegoers of all walks of life win out.

There is good business to be done balancing the four-quadrant “for everyone” releases with targeted films that aren’t necessarily for everyone. Because when not every film at the multiplex is intended for everyone, you’re more likely to find something for anyone.

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was to ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into by ro ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Rak ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Huss ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the so ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 m ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ser ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 mill ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Baza ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
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1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Sky ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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