Roadside’s pic battle plan

Distrib goes wide on 'Conspirator'

Roadside Attractions hopes moviegoers will be feeling a little patriotic when visiting the multiplexes this weekend, as the distrib launches a wider-than-usual launch for Robert Redford’s Civil War-set “The Conspirator.”

Pic bows today at 707 locations, making it one of the largest releases ever for Roadside.

The bow is timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, as well as the same time of year when Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865. Redford’s “Conspirator” centers on the subsequent trial of that fateful event.

Roadside co-prexy Howard Cohen said the distrib has been militant in promoting the Civil War tie-in with media outlets, hoping to start a grassroots word-of-mouth campaign with history buffs. Distrib also went so far as to host the pic’s preem at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. “We always wanted to take advantage of the Civil War zeitgeist,” Cohen said.

It’s uncertain how many filmgoers, outside hardcore Civil War enthusiasts, will spark to the date tie-in, but according to Cohen, it’s all about utilizing an existing fanbase.

“Conspirator,” which marks Redford’s first directorial effort since “Lions for Lambs” in 2007, cost approximately $25 million to produce and was acquired by Roadside after last year’s Toronto Film Fest.

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