Though founded as an innovative marketing and distribution entity, Revolver has been firing on production side as well, ever since its inhouse production arm, Gunslinger, launched in 2009. In less than three years, the shingle has birthed four pics, three of which have been released theatrically in Blighty.
The banner, which is headed by Revolver deputy managing director Nick Taussig, prides itself on working with new U.K. talent within a low-budget range (all four cost less than $1 million). So far, the approach has mostly paid off.
Gunslinger’s first production was the Mo Ali-helmed action thriller “Shank,” in which a gang avenges the murder of one of its peers. Set in a decaying future London, the urban-themed pic toplined Adam Deacon, Ashley “Bashy” Thomas and Kaya Scodelario, all of whom have gone on to become familiar names in the U.K. youth market. Pic grossed $817,000 at the U.K. box office — impressive for a pic that cost around $810,000 to make.
“We are looking to make higher quality genre films which will be theatrically released in the U.K. and will have a good chance of making its money back from within the U.K.,” says Revolver CEO Justin Marciano.
The following year, building on its relationship with Deacon, Gunslinger produced “Anuvahood,” which served as the “Shank” star’s directorial debut. The urban comedy went on to earn $3.4 million at the box office, marking Revolver’s biggest theatrical takings to date.
Gunslinger stumbled a bit in 2011, when Nirpal Bhogal’s “Sket” grossed just $232,000 at the box office, but will try again with the upcoming release of thriller “Offender,” now in post.
“We’ve taken chances on talent for all of the films from our Gunslinger label,” Marciano says. “We’ve worked with four directors who were all first-timers, and we’ve taken chances on talent in front of the lens, too. It’s important to us to support local U.K. talent.”
Marciano says while pics have admittedly been skewed to a U.K. audience, future films from the label will aim to have a more international flavor. With “Offender,” which is helmed by commercials director Ron Scalpello and set in a notorious youth prison, Revolver hired L.A.-based sales agent IM Global to shop the pic.
“We wanted to work with someone who knows the international market well,” Marciano says.
Going forward, Gunslinger is planning a pic based on the life story of bare-knuckle fighter Lenny McLean, based on Peter Gerrard’s book “The Guv’nor Tapes.” Paul Van Carter is penning the script with McLean’s nephew, Martin Askew, who has history writing with Guy Ritchie.
The shingle is also in development on Royal Marines actioner “Bootneck.”
“It’s a great thing for us to do,” says Marciano, “but it is frustrating that the more commercial things we are interested in doing get overlooked by softer money that’s available in the U.K.”
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