×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Why Did Halle Berry’s ‘Frankie & Alice’ Languish on the Shelf?

It took three years, a Golden Globe nomination and possibly a slew of recent hit films targeting African-American audiences for Halle Berry’s “Frankie & Alice” to finally open in 125 theaters on Friday.

Geoffrey Sax’s gritty drama based on the true story of a 1970s go-go dancer with dissociative identity disorder was shot in 2008 and, after a decade in development and a year on the shelf, it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to fairly positive reviews in May 2010 and screened at the AFI Film Festival six months later.

But after a one-week qualifying run in a single Los Angeles theater during awards season in December 2010, the movie vanished. The film’s producers Access Motion Pictures never followed through with the February release that had been planned through Freestyle Releasing and yet Berry was still nominated for a Golden Globe in 2011, and won an NAACP Image Award and a Prism Award for her performance in the pic.

As time passed and the movie collected for three years (Berry has since starred in thriller “The Call” and inked a deal to topline a new CBS drama), the possibility of a theatrical release resurfaced last year when Codeblack Films acquired distribution rights in September.

Why So Long?

Although it deals with some taboo topics (aside from portraying a mental illness, the pic also tackles the topic of white supremacy as one of Berry’s personalities is a white racist from Texas), it would seem that “Frankie & Alice” should have been seen due to Berry’s star power alone. In 2001 she became the first African-American to win the best actress Oscar and, despite a few recent flops, she’s also part of two mega-successful franchises: “X-Men” and the James Bond series.

Berry has reportedly been working on the project, which marks her debut as a film producer, in some capacity since the mid-‘90s.

Why Now?

The pic is being released this Friday by one of the first independent African-American-owned production/distribution shingles, Codeblack Films — a division of Lionsgate that launched two years ago by Jeff Clanagan. A Lionsgate rep said the studio doesn’t know what happened to the film before Codeblack acquired it but the recent rise in African American movie attendance may have opened the door for “Frankie & Alice.”

According to a recent MPAA report, more than 170 million African-Americans went to the movies in 2013 — a 13% spike from 2012’s 150 million. Thanks to movies like this year’s best picture Oscar winner “12 Years a Slave,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” and “The Best Man Holiday,” African-American movie attendance is up for the first time in four years.

Plus, Berry’s last film “The Call” earned over $68 million worldwide on a small budget of $13 million. While  “Frankie” may be a different kind of movie, the demand for the Oscar-winning actress is still very much real and Codeblack jumped in when the price was surely right.

Perhaps it’s only fitting that the distributor that’s taking Berry’s passion project off the shelf and into theaters was behind the box office success story of Kevin Hart’s stand-up comedy film “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain.” “Let Me Explain” sparked Hart’s box office hot streak. The comedian has contributed to the recent triumph of several African-American pictures, including “Ride Along,” “About Last Night” and “Think Like a Man.”

 

More Film

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays

    Narendra Modi Wins New Mandate in Indian Election and Divides the Film Industry

    India has returned the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance coalition to power for a second term, with a huge mandate. In doing so, it polarized the film industry. The NDA won 351 seats out of a total of 542. The biggest democratic exercise in the world, more than 600 million Indians voted across six weeks. [...]

  • Director Dean DeBlois and online game

    'Dragon' Director Dean DeBlois and PUBG's CH Kim to Keynote 2019 VIEW Conference

    Dean DeBlois, director and executive producer of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and PUBG Corporation CEO CH Kim are the first keynote speakers announced for the 2019 VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, in October. Since it began 12 years ago, VIEW, which stands for Virtual Interactive Emerging World, has continually [...]

  • 'The Cordillera of Dreams' Review: Poetic

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Cordillera of Dreams'

    Rounding out his sublimely meditative, deeply personal documentary-essay trilogy on time, memory and the relationship of Chile’s breathtaking landscapes to its troubled human history, Patricio Guzmán delivers “The Cordillera of Dreams,” a haunting and allusive exploration of the cultural impact of the country’s most spectacular geological feature: its snowcapped mountain spine. Coming after the exploration [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala

    Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala: Mariah Carey, Kendall Jenner and Tiffany Trump

    Kendall Jenner caused a commotion when she arrived. Tiffany Trump went unrecognized until a member of the press pointed her out as she made her way down the carpet. And Mariah Carey flew in to perform a couple of songs. Welcome to this year’s AmfAR Gala Cannes, the AIDS organization’s annual — and largest — [...]

  • 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo' Review: Abdellatif

    Cannes Film Review: 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo'

    A simple but somehow atypical shot opens Abdellatif Kechiche’s new film: a serene closeup of a young woman’s face, as seen through the camera lens of Amir, a budding photographer still finding his perspective. Her expression is ambiguously tranquil, her long hair lightly rustled by a humid breeze, all softly lit by a sinking afternoon [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content