'The Dog Lover: the Wrong Side

Steven Paul’s SP Releasing has concluded a deal with ESX Entertainment for domestic distribution rights to the drama “The Dog Lover: The Wrong Side of Right,” Variety has learned exclusively.

“The Dog Lover” stars James Remar, Lea Thompson, Jason Blair and Alison Page (pictured above). Alex Ranarivelo is the director of the movie, in which an animal rights activist goes undercover to expose a large-scale dog-breeding operation.

The film is scheduled for release by SP Releasing and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment this summer with an initial theatrical opening of at least 20 U.S. cities with a simultaneous VOD day and date release.

Forrest Lucas and Ali Afshar’s ESX Entertainment launched in July and specializes in films with budgets under $10 million with inspirational themes. Lucas is the founder and owner of Lucas Oil Products.

SP Releasing signed a multi-year output deal last year with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. It also plans a summer theatrical release for “JL Ranch,” starring Jon Voight, Melanie Griffith and James Caan.

Paul has producing credits on the “Ghost Rider” and “Tekken” movies and the upcoming “Ghost in the Shell,” starring Scarlett Johansson.

Paul’s SPI has become one of the most active Hollywood independent companies in the booming Chinese market. Variety reported in October that it had backed upcoming Nu Image / Millennium movies “Expendables 4” and “Security” on behalf of SSXH Beijing and Max Screen Film Distribution for equity investments, providing for Chinese distribution rights.

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