New distributor Clarius Entertainment popped up in 2014 and botched their first three releases, the animated fiasco Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, the Nicole Kidman dud Before I Go To Sleep and the Michael Douglas geezer targeting comedy And So It Goes. Clarius was set to release their fourth film, the Jennifer Aniston vehicle, She’s Funny That Way, which they picked up for $4.5 million with a $24.5 million P&A commitment, but Clarius only came through with $900,000 and did not have the funds to release the picture — and is being sued for fraud and damages. Clarius also had the teen skewing The Outskirts scheduled for a June 2015 release and pushed it to a November release, before removing it off their calendar. Their only pic in their distribution pipeline is My All American, a $20 million football themed faith based story that was financed by wealthy Texas oilman Bud Brigham — which this is his first foray into the movie business and unless this scores with his core demo, it will probably be his last. American football themed films rarely see any distribution outside of the states and until Clarius recoups their modest P&A spend and $1 million acquisition cost, it’ll be a long way out of the red. Clarius, which has relabeled itself Aviron Pictures, has spent a few million on around 650 national TV spots (info from iSpotTV), plus million more in print, online, radio and the steep cost of actually booking a film into wide release. Another hurdle My All American has in reaching profit is independent distributors do not get back the usual 50%-55% of the ticket price from major chains, in fact Regal pays out just 34% of the gross to smaller distributors.
My All American was originally scheduled for an October 9 release, which would have put the film in direct competition with Woodlawn, which was opening the following weekend — both are targeting faith based audiences and are about football. Clarius shifted the release for My All American a month later, which Woodlawn is still playing in 808 theaters and inexplicably opened the pic the same day as The 33, which is also courting faith based audiences. These films are all likely to cannibalize each other. Some of these films have a remarkable weekly multiplier and open with low numbers and have staying power at the boxoffice and others like 90 Minutes In Heaven or Little Boy disappear quickly. The thematic similarities to Woodlawn will likely hurt My All American and when the weekend numbers come in, we’ll see if Clarius Entertainment can finally each an audience or if they get their fourth strike.
UPDATE: The opening weekend is a terrible $1.365 million and Clarius never bothered to report the weekday numbers. My All American had a huge 73% second frame decline to $369,000. More after the film quickly leaves theaters..