Lauren spent $5 million to make and market pic

Fashion scion Andrew Lauren is putting his money where his mouth is with “G,” bankrolling the pic’s rollout from 42 screens to 600 screens in 15 markets on Oct. 28.

The son of fashion magnate Ralph Lauren has so far spent $5 million to make and market the film, and will pony up $2 million more to expand a film that so far has grossed $603,000 in Memphis, Tenn.; Washington, D.C.; Norfolk, Va.; and Baltimore.

Distributors, which had seem the pic at the Tribeca Film Festival, re-approached him after it opened in those markets, and he retained fellow “The Squid and the Whale” producers Peter Newman and Greg Johnson to make a deal, but Newman said none passed muster.

“G,” which started filming in the Hamptons in 2001, played Tribeca the following year. Lauren maintains distribs had no idea what to do with the Christopher Scott Cherot-directed take on “The Great Gatsby” in which the principal characters are black hip-hop impresarios.

Lauren hatched the four-city test launch after “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” did well, retaining Target Media partners Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Susan Wren to do marketing, and former MGM exec Bill Lewis to spearhead distribution.

Lauren, who fell in love with film when he worked the projector at family gatherings in which Warner Bros. chief Steve Ross lent his dad prints of first-run films, considers the renewed interest in the film gratifying but he and his investors decided going it alone was a better idea.

“It was satisfying to hear those distributors who turned it down say they were wrong, but I want to be sure it has every chance to succeed,” Lauren says. “I think we can make money on this.”

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