Byron Allen, the 56-year-old media mogul who spent 18 years as a comedian before launching Entertainment Studios in 1993, is bringing Hostiles to the big screen this week.
Allen acquired the Western starring Christian Bale back in October and the film has already received rave reviews. Allen also managed to take The Weinstein Company’s reject, 47 Meters Down, from a scheduled straight-to-DVD release to the year’s most successful indie flick.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Allen explained his philosophy behind acquiring movies. He also addressed rumors that he is interested in acquiring The Weinstein Company, which has been under fire due to the countless sexual misconduct acquisitions leveled at its former board member Harvey Weinstein.
“We haven’t really looked at it,” Allen told THR about the acquisition rumors. “No need. I mean, it’s a great acquisition for somebody who wants to get a relationship with the theaters. We already have that. We bought Freestyle Releasing in October 2015. That’s how we got into the movie business. We have an output deal with Netflix, and Lionsgate handles our home entertainment. Our infrastructure is built and up and running. So, for us, it’s not a fit,” he said.
With seven cable TV networks under already in his company’s portfolio and an awards season contender with Hostiles, Allen explained what makes a movie a right fit for Entertainment Studios.
“We are really focused on movies that we believe warrant a wide release of 2,000 to 4,000 [theaters] and can do anywhere from $40 million to $70 million at the box office,” Allen told THR. “We’re chasing what the studios don’t necessarily want. Their ambitions are much higher. So, we’re staying in our weight class. And we’re chasing the studios’ crumbs. Basically, we’re chasing box-office failures for a studio. But their box-office failure is our success. Their crumbs are our gourmet meal. When you do that across 15 to 20 movies a year, it’s a real business.”
ESN is the parent company of theGrio.com. It is a 100 percent African-American owned company with seven networks.
Read the rest of the Allen’s exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter here.