Trimark Pictures’ controversial “Extreme Justice” will bypass the big screen and get its world premiere via Home Box Office.
The Mark Lester-helmed, Lou Diamond Phillips-Scott Glenn starrer focusing on police brutality in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Investigation Section was originally targeted for release April 30 in the L.A. area.
But as the Rodney King trial continues and memories linger from last year’s L.A. riots, the company questioned whether it was the proper environmnent in which to release the pic. The company even considered holding “Extreme Justice” back until next January, but that was not economically viable, according to a spokesman.
The film will debut instead in June as part of HBO’s “Thursday Night Prime,” a programming category started up by the paycabler last year featuring world premieres of action-oriented films.
“We just felt if you’re not going to go out theatrically, there’s no better place to premiere a film than HBO,” Trimark’s spokesman said.
“Thursday Night Prime” is a “good way for films to get national promotion without a theatrical release that doesn’t cannibalize their ancillary markets,” explained Neil Brown, VP, film acquisitions, HBO. “In fact, it may enhance their ancillary markets.”
The category includes “films that for whatever reason didn’t get a theatrical release, but that we felt were a cut above direct-to-video,” said Camilla Carpenter, HBO’s director of film programming and homevideo.
“It seems to satisfy our subscribers who are hungry for this kind of action film,” she said, calling it a “sound business decision on the part of the distributor who might otherwise be throwing money away on a theatrical release.”
The distribs typically retain vidrights, said Carpenter, who added that the paycabler generally licenses the film on an exclusive basis for a coupleof windows after video as well.
Originally titled “S.I.S.,” (for the LAPD’s Special Investigation Section), “Extreme Justice” won an R rating when the MPAA’s Code and Ratings Administration appeals board overturned the L.A. board’s NC-17 rating.
“Extreme Justice” also marks the second Trimark pic to premiere on “Thursday Night Prime,” following “Interceptor,” starring Andrew Divoff, Elizabeth Morehead and Jurgen Prochnow, which debuted in October, 1992.
Other “Thursday Night Prime” entries have included “Live Wire,” starring Pierce Brosnan and Ron Silver; “Sunset Heat,” starring Dennis Hopper and Michael Pare and “Maniac Cop III,” starrring Robert Davi, in addition to “Blown Away,” with Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Nicole Eggert, which debuts April 1.