Mel Gibson’s ‘Boss Level’ Lands at Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios

Byron Allen’s growing independent outfit Entertainment Studios picked up U.S. distribution rights for action-thiller “Boss Level.”

The film, starring Mel Gibson, Naomi Watts, Frank Grillo and Ken Jeong, cost $45 million and is slated for a 2019 wide theatrical release.

“Boss Level” is a co-production by Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Carnahan and Grillo’s War Party, and Scott Free. Written and directed by “The Grey” and “The A-Team” director Joe Carnahan, “Boss Level” has a “Groundhog Day,” “Edge of Tomorrow” vibe.

The film follows a retired U.S. Army Special Forces veteran (Grillo) trapped in a never-ending loop, resulting in his death every day. In order to stop his endless suffering, he must figure out who is responsible and stop them.

Also Read: Andie MacDowell on ‘Groundhog Day’ at 25: Bill Murray ‘Asked Me to Really Slap Him’

“‘Boss Level’ is a powerful, action-packed, and highly-anticipated theatrical release,” Allen, head of Entertainment Studios said in a statement. “‘Boss Level’ combines non-stop action with an all-star cast, including Frank Grillo, Ken Jeong, Academy Award-winner Mel Gibson, and Academy Award-nominee Naomi Watts.  We are thrilled to have director Joe Carnahan at the helm to deliver what we believe will be a blockbuster.”

Allen’s Entertainment Studios has made some noise in Hollywood, picking up theatrical rights to films other studios would otherwise relegate straight to DVD.

The studio bought what would go on to be 2017’s highest-grossing independent movie, “47 Meters Down,” from the Weinstein Co. The film, starring Mandy Moore has grossed over $44 million to date. Most recently Entertainment Studios released the Kennedy mystery-thriller “Chappaquiddick.”

Also Read: Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Buys Weather Channel for $300 Million

Upcoming releases include the Keanu Reeves sci-fi thriller “Replicas” and an animated feature called “Animal Crackers,” starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt.

“Byron and I have been friends for over a decade, and my business partner, George Furla, has known Byron for over 30 years since their USC Film School days. We both believe Byron’s passion and taste are second to none,” producer Randall Emmett said in a statement. “The plan for Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures to give ‘Boss Level’ a wide theatrical release gives our film and writer/director Joe Carnahan’s vision exactly what we had hoped for when we put this project together.”

The deal was negotiated by Entertainment Studios’ Head of Acquisitions, Chris Charalambous, and Wayne Marc Godfrey of The Fyzz Facility on behalf of Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films.

Byron Allen’s growing independent outfit Entertainment Studios picked up U.S. distribution rights for action-thiller “Boss Level.”

The film, starring Mel Gibson, Naomi Watts, Frank Grillo and Ken Jeong, cost $45 million and is slated for a 2019 wide theatrical release.

“Boss Level” is a co-production by Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Carnahan and Grillo’s War Party, and Scott Free. Written and directed by “The Grey” and “The A-Team” director Joe Carnahan, “Boss Level” has a “Groundhog Day,” “Edge of Tomorrow” vibe.

The film follows a retired U.S. Army Special Forces veteran (Grillo) trapped in a never-ending loop, resulting in his death every day. In order to stop his endless suffering, he must figure out who is responsible and stop them.

“‘Boss Level’ is a powerful, action-packed, and highly-anticipated theatrical release,” Allen, head of Entertainment Studios said in a statement. “‘Boss Level’ combines non-stop action with an all-star cast, including Frank Grillo, Ken Jeong, Academy Award-winner Mel Gibson, and Academy Award-nominee Naomi Watts.  We are thrilled to have director Joe Carnahan at the helm to deliver what we believe will be a blockbuster.”

Allen’s Entertainment Studios has made some noise in Hollywood, picking up theatrical rights to films other studios would otherwise relegate straight to DVD.

The studio bought what would go on to be 2017’s highest-grossing independent movie, “47 Meters Down,” from the Weinstein Co. The film, starring Mandy Moore has grossed over $44 million to date. Most recently Entertainment Studios released the Kennedy mystery-thriller “Chappaquiddick.”

Upcoming releases include the Keanu Reeves sci-fi thriller “Replicas” and an animated feature called “Animal Crackers,” starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt.

“Byron and I have been friends for over a decade, and my business partner, George Furla, has known Byron for over 30 years since their USC Film School days. We both believe Byron’s passion and taste are second to none,” producer Randall Emmett said in a statement. “The plan for Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures to give ‘Boss Level’ a wide theatrical release gives our film and writer/director Joe Carnahan’s vision exactly what we had hoped for when we put this project together.”

The deal was negotiated by Entertainment Studios’ Head of Acquisitions, Chris Charalambous, and Wayne Marc Godfrey of The Fyzz Facility on behalf of Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films.

PopPolitics: John Curran Defends ‘Inarguable’ Facts in ‘Chappaquiddick’ (Listen)

WASHINGTON — John Curran’s “Chappaquiddick,” which opens in theaters this weekend, is a dramatization of what happened late one night in 1969 when Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) drove his car off a narrow bridge on Martha’s Vineyard, killing the passenger he was riding with, Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy survived, but waited nine hours to report it […]

WASHINGTON — John Curran’s “Chappaquiddick,” which opens in theaters this weekend, is a dramatization of what happened late one night in 1969 when Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) drove his car off a narrow bridge on Martha’s Vineyard, killing the passenger he was riding with, Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy survived, but waited nine hours to report it […]

Why Every Liberal Should See ‘Chappaquiddick’

In our noisy, toxically divided, my-way-or-the-highway political culture, you’re on one side or the other, and there’s almost no middle ground left — no place where liberals and conservatives can overlap without feeling like they’re betraying their own cause. “Chappaquiddick,” the deep and gripping new docudrama about the tragic incident that took place on July […]

In our noisy, toxically divided, my-way-or-the-highway political culture, you’re on one side or the other, and there’s almost no middle ground left — no place where liberals and conservatives can overlap without feeling like they’re betraying their own cause. “Chappaquiddick,” the deep and gripping new docudrama about the tragic incident that took place on July […]

‘A Quiet Place’ to Roar at Box Office With $40 Million-Plus Opening Weekend

Horror-thriller “A Quiet Place” is dominating domestic moviegoing with at least $40 million for its opening weekend, early estimates showed Friday. The Paramount title is blowing past estimates, which had been in the $30 million range, with several estimates placing “A Quiet Place” above $45 million. Paramount was adhering to the $35 million to $40 […]

Horror-thriller “A Quiet Place” is dominating domestic moviegoing with at least $40 million for its opening weekend, early estimates showed Friday. The Paramount title is blowing past estimates, which had been in the $30 million range, with several estimates placing “A Quiet Place” above $45 million. Paramount was adhering to the $35 million to $40 […]

‘Chappaquiddick‘: Why the Liberal Team Behind the Controversial Ted Kennedy Film Shunned the Right-Wing Press

The liberal press won’t embrace the film that conservatives love, and the filmmakers are caught in the middle of the controversial biopic.

Chappaquiddick” is a well-acted examination of the Ted Kennedy 1969 drunk-driving scandal that ended with young Democratic aide Mary Joe Kopechne trapped and drowned in Kennedy’s Volkswagen after it plunged into a pond off Dike Bridge. The new film appeals more to Republicans who hated him than the liberals who revere him — but it has a liberal director and star who refuse to publicize it through conservative outlets, and only a few under 40 know what “Chappaquiddick” means. So who will see it?

On the surface, it might seem to be a hatchet job on one of the Senate’s most respected politicians. “I hope between the reviews and word of mouth people will not see it as a one-dimensional hit piece,” said director John Curran (“The Painted Veil”). “The fear of that is understandable.”

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios acquired the film before Toronto for $4 million against $16 million in P&A. When he asked Black List 2015 screenwriters Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan why Kopechne didn’t sleep with Kennedy in the movie, they said they’d based their script on the inquest.

“That’s the answer I was looking for,” said Allen, who was an ardent Hillary Clinton supporter in the 2016 election. “‘You aren’t the right, or the left. You are straight across the plate.’ When they said that, ‘I’m in.’ We should have this conversation. I’m stepping this up.”

Allen, who recently added the Weather Channel to his hodgepodge of entertainment assets, announced a December release and Oscar campaign for star Jason Clarke (“Mudbound”), but backed off in favor of another fall film with a bigger star, Scott Cooper western “Hostiles” starring Christian Bale. It made $29.8 million at the domestic box office, but received no nominations.

Now Allen is opening “Chappaquiddick” not as a limited release for discerning cinephiles, but as a 1,500-screen mainstream drama for national audiences. Spending some $16 million to open the movie, ES hired marketing ace Russell Schwartz to help lure moviegoers to theaters. Features on the movie turned up in major outlets USA Today, AP, and People; TV buys included the Stormy Daniels episode of “60 Minutes,” the premiere of “Roseanne,” and Fox News.

But Clarke and Curran aren’t cooperating with right-wing press requests. Clarke complains that the movie is being shunned by liberal TV hosts such as HBO’s Bill Maher and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who could clarify its intent. And Curran turned down an interview with Sean Hannity: “I said, ‘No fuckin’ way.’ I’m not embracing the right. They’re going to embrace this film anyway, see it through their own prism.  I could have picked a film that’s a lot easier to market.”

“There are people who wouldn’t take our money, who didn’t want the movie out,” said Allen at the Academy premiere. “I can tell you they are real — not a Kennedy family member, but obviously a Kennedy defender, people who love and support them. I couldn’t believe it 49 years later. We actually have a TV station in Boston that wouldn’t take our ad buy. Did we forget about the first amendment? Put aside your agenda, how about the truth? How about we honor Mary Joe Kopechne, one of the original #MeToo victims?”

Why was Allen so willing to commit $20 million to taking this movie out in theaters? “I wanted the truth out there,” said Allen. “The truth will always come out. You can’t keep it from coming out.”

Jason Clarke and Kate Mara in “Chappaquiddick”

Allen and Logan were in their 20s when they first heard of Chappaquiddick; they Googled the Ted Kennedy scandal after the late Senator threw his weight behind Barack Obama’s 2008 run for president. The movie explores the Kennedy scion’s passive do-nothing-and-let-others-fix-this strategy, but the writers stick entirely to known facts from the inquest. It did not suggest that Kennedy had an affair with Robert Kennedy aide Kopechne, although there was certainly a party that night.

Clarke signed on to the film initially with director Sam Taylor-Johnson, who dropped out and was replaced by Curran; he and Clarke previously worked together on the 1998 Australian film “Praise.” Clarke digs into this iconic figure with finesse; Kate Mara is a demure, smart, and politically committed Kopechne, and Bruce Dern is fierce without words as stroke-ridden but still judgmental Kennedy patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy.

Clarke was born in Queensland the year the incident took place. When he read the script, “I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I couldn’t believe that this man had done this and gotten away with it.” The events that night changed Kennedy and turned him into the man he became, said Clarke, who followed the lonely, dark route at night that Kennedy walked alone. “You go through a moral journey of choice. It’s Ted’s moral soul that’s at stake. It’s a very cunning, selfish, destructive thing. He handled it because it was innate in him.”

Clarke thinks that Kennedy eventually figured out: “‘Other people aren’t going to change anything. They are who they are. I can’t change them, but I can change myself.’ That’s part of looking at one of the great liberal Democrats in history.”

“Teddy didn’t know who he was yet,” said Curran. “I didn’t read it as a hit piece; I read something very nuanced. I felt the human being at its center, I wanted to contextualize who he was at that time, 37 years old, the year after Bobby was killed, with the expectations of the country and the family on him. This incident took options off the table. And he committed to being the best Senator he could be.”

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‘A Quiet Place’ Makes Loud Thursday Debut With $4.3 Million

Horror-thriller “A Quiet Place” has opened with an impressive $4.3 million at 2,740 North American locations in Thursday night preview showings, while “Blockers” took in $1.5 million at 2,650 sites in previews. Paramount Pictures’ “A Quiet Place,” starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, has been forecasted to debut with as much as $30 million from 3,508 […]

Horror-thriller “A Quiet Place” has opened with an impressive $4.3 million at 2,740 North American locations in Thursday night preview showings, while “Blockers” took in $1.5 million at 2,650 sites in previews. Paramount Pictures’ “A Quiet Place,” starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, has been forecasted to debut with as much as $30 million from 3,508 […]

Peter Bart: Can Superb Ted Kennedy Exposé ‘Chappaquiddick’ Survive Fact-Based Movie Malaise?

There’s a powerful scene in the newly released film Chappaquiddick in which an exasperated, wheelchair-bound Joe Kennedy fiercely slaps his son, Ted. The monomaniacal old man is in a rage that Senator Ted, groomed to be the next Kennedy president, now faces ruin for driving his car off a bridge, thus drowning a young girl.
The question is, how many filmgoers will witness this riveting moment; as with most mid-budget dramatic films, Chappaquiddick, though superbly crafted…

There's a powerful scene in the newly released film Chappaquiddick in which an exasperated, wheelchair-bound Joe Kennedy fiercely slaps his son, Ted. The monomaniacal old man is in a rage that Senator Ted, groomed to be the next Kennedy president, now faces ruin for driving his car off a bridge, thus drowning a young girl. The question is, how many filmgoers will witness this riveting moment; as with most mid-budget dramatic films, Chappaquiddick, though superbly crafted…