*The surprise success of “47 Meters Down” has the founder and chairman of Entertainment Studios, Byron Allen, on a mission to become the next Walt Disney.
The film stars Mandy Moore and Claire Holt as two sisters vacationing in Mexico who get trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive.
“47 Meters Down” was released by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, which the distributor rescued from Dimension Films just as it was about to be released straight to DVD. The horror flick has earned over $42 million domestically. And while that’s impressive — Allen said he’s not here to be the new king of independent movies.
“I’m not chasing independence, I’m chasing Walt Disney,” he said. “I’m looking for a large piece of that box-office pie, not a tiny piece of that box-office pie.”
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Allen, who began as a stand-up comedian, makes over $100 million annually as founder, chairman, and CEO of Entertainment Studios. He syndicates and sells ad time on low-budget shows like “Comics Unleashed” and “We the People With Gloria Allred,” which he also broadcasts on his eight TV networks that include Cars.TV, Justice Central, and Pets.TV, per Indie Wire.
For Allen, “47 Meters Down” speaks to his ability to “take the studio crumbs and make a loaf of bread.”
“His ambition is positive for the business,” said Kevin Iwashina of Preferred Content, who negotiated the deal that brought “Served Like a Girl” to ES. “I believe he wants to be associated with meaningful content. He spent significant time with the filmmaker expressing his passion for the issue of homeless female veterans. It was clear he had an emotional connection to the film.”
However, Allen said his primary goal today is to work on the distribution scale of major studios.
“Our goal is to do 12 to 17 movies a year,” he said. “I want our movies to be global, and I want them to be family, and I want them to be wide releases. So I’m not looking to do 500-, 800-, 1,000-screen releases. I’m more 2,000-4,000-screen releases. That’s what I want.”
In related news, Byron Allen is also the plaintiff in a $10 billion racial-discrimination lawsuit against Charter Communications.