‘Flood’ to test U.K. waters

Lionsgate, Powercorp pact on disaster pic

LONDON — With severe flooding having forced mass evacuations and left hundreds of thousands of people in Blighty without running water and electricity, releasing an ecological disaster pic titled “Flood” could be seen as poor timing, at the least.

But U.K. shingle Powercorp and distrib Lionsgate are hoping local auds will see the upcoming bow of “Flood” — a Robert Carlyle starrer that shows the potential devastation wrought on London by the River Thames bursting its banks — as more ecological warning than exploitation. On July 20, the same day the floods hit, Powercorp inked a deal for Lionsgate U.K. to theatrically release its disaster film. Though the pic was originally optioned four years ago and negotiations with Lionsgate had been under way for weeks prior to the flooding, Powercorp is fully aware of the unfortunate schadenfreude of the deal’s timing.

Lionsgate has tentatively skedded an Aug. 14 release in London’s West End on one print, weeks earlier than previously envisaged. Plans to expand the release will be determined by the pic’s B.O. performance.

The convergence of life and art echoes the events surrounding the release of “The China Syndrome” in 1979. That pic, which looked at the perils of nuclear energy, was propelled to national prominence and boffo box office when a real-life incident at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island nuclear power plant occurred just 13 days into the film’s release.

“That’s the reason we made the film,” says Powercorp topper Justin Bodle of “Flood.” “No one pays attention to the enormity of an environmental disaster until it happens. If we all saw the movie, we might have a better understanding of what needs to be done.”

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