Bill Schopf, who owns Chicago’s Music Box Theater, decided to swim against the current and enter the distribution fray this year. And it’s paid off. Music Box set its sights on a French-language title that no other U.S. distribs seemed interested in: EuropaCorp’s 2006 suspense pic “Tell No One.” And, blessed with strong N.Y. Times and L.A. Times reviews, Music Box suddenly found itself with a surprise hit on its hands in a summer largely free of specialty competition.
“We’re entering a golden age for foreign films,” Music Box Films co-head Ed Arentz asserts. “The ’60s and ’70s filmgoing generation now has time to resume their passion for foreign films.” Company’s next pic is another French title, “Shall We Kiss?”
“You have to keep the overhead low and be well capitalized,” adds Schopf. “You have to write the checks without going to the bank.”
Arentz, a Gotham indie vet who has distributed product for Empire and Palm Pictures, says that lean mentality will keep them afloat. “If we only release two films next year, it’s not like anyone is going to shut us down.”
B.O.: $4.3 million
TOP PIC: “Tell No One,” $3.9 million
TOPPERS: Bill Schopf and Ed Arentz, co-heads
UP NEXT: “Shall We Kiss?” (October)