‘Delta’ draws Parallel

Blue Collar buttons 'Farce' with comedy duo

Blue Collar comedy staples Daniel Whitney (Larry the Cable Guy) and Bill Engvall are set to star in “Delta Farce,” a film to be fully financed by Parallel Entertainment.

Shooting begins June 12 and Lionsgate will distribute next spring.

C.B. Harding, director of Parallel’s three “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” films, will helm from a script by Bear Aderhold and Tom Sullivan. Parallel Pictures partners J.P. Williams and Alan Blomquist produce. Eric Tennenbaum, John Strauss and Emily Wolfe exec produce.

Whitney, Engvall and a third Blue Collar standup comic will play inept, Iraq-bound Army reservists who are mistakenly dropped into Mexico and liberate a small village from marauders.

Parallel Entertainment, which has found success with Blue Collar standup tours, merchandising and a TV series, made up for early missteps with whopping DVD sales.

After Warner Bros. distributed the $2 million “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” to an embarrassing $604,000 gross in 2003, the DVD of that film and a sequel grossed $70 million, Blomquist said. Parallel’s “Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector” grossed $15 million this year through Lionsgate.

Larry the Cable Guy is the country’s top-grossing touring comic, and his own modest comedy tour DVD, “Git-R-Done,” grossed $15 million.

“We bought into the tracking on ‘Health Inspector’ and went against our business model of keeping costs low and selling to the so-called Wal-Mart Red State core audience,” Blomquist said.

The result: The film’s release on 1,700 screens bombed in the Bronx with a $45 opening night while it was killing in Blue Collar stronghold markets. Blomquist said Lionsgate will front the P&A this time, and the “Delta Farce” release will be better focused.

“We don’t need to force our way into the Bronx or the Sherman Oaks Galleria, if the prints are better off in Louisville and Scranton,” Blomquist said. Parallel is already planning the next pic, the Engvall starrer “Bait Shop,” a “Barbershop”-style comedy.

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