Bella Producer Reveals Upcoming Distribution Schedule for Canada, International Markets
By Steve Jalsevac
WASHINGTON, January 28, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a LifeSiteNews interview, following the March For Life in Washington last Tuesday, Bella producer Leo Severino revealed the upcoming schedule for the movie’s distribution into Canada and other international markets. Bella will be released into select Canadian markets in the first week of March, in Australia beginning Feb. 21 and Mexico on April 25.
Severino briefly addressed a function put on by the Filipino Family Fund following the March for Life. In his comments to the group the Bella movie producer revealed it has been confirmed that so far at least 12 mothers have changed their minds about aborting their babies after seeing the movie. He said they learned about the most recent two that day from participants in the March. Severino told LifeSiteNews "all were scheduled to abort and through Bella they changed their minds."
Immediately following the Filipino event, LifeSiteNews asked Severino for the latest news about Bella.
Following is the text of the interview:
Severino: We’re still into around 50 theatres (US release began October 26). That’s pretty amazing. At the peak there were 470 theatres, which was pretty amazing for having no real advertising campaign.
LifeSiteNews: How has the movie done so far?
Severino: $7.9 million has been brought in at the box office. If with Canada and Puerto Rico we can reach $9 million, Bella will have been one of the most profitable films of 2007. That measure is production budget to domestic box office sales. $9 million sales means we would have made three times our budget. Very few films make three times their budget.
LifeSiteNews: Canadians have been asking for months when the movie will be distributed in their country where Bella began as a hit at the Toronto Film Festival. They don’t understand why this hasn’t happened yet.
Severino: We’re starting Canada the first week of March. The distributor is Maximum Films. We’ll definitely be in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. We’re still developing the rest of the Canadian distribution plan. From there we are going international - Australia, South Africa, Israel, on Virgin America Airlines. All the Latin American flights will be showing Bella.
We sold Benelux (film distributor) in Europe - in Spain and Italy. We’re starting Australia Feb. 21st. It’s going to be the litmus test for the English speaking rest of the world. And then April 25 is a big day because that’s Mexico and once we open Mexico then we’re going to the rest of Latin America.
LifeSiteNews: The film has done well where it has been shown, but it hasn’t been distributed as widely as many who want to see it had hoped. What makes it so that a film can be picked up by a major distributor?
Severino: First, to get to a bigger distributor they have to know that it is a marketable piece and that normally means that it’s either a certain genre like comedy or horror or has a big name actor in the US and our film didn’t have either of those two things, so it was really tough. The fact that it got distributed the way it was distributed is already miraculous to begin with.
If we had a stronger distributor we could have gotten broader reach like Juno, etc. Our first and second week numbers should have justified double and triple the expansion we got.
LifeSiteNews: But they didn’t do it. Why?
Severino: It’s probably because we didn’t have the leverage. Big studios come in and dictate what movies should be taken.
LifeSiteNews: You were talking about another film. Is that in the works yet?
Severino: We’ve got three projects now that are in development.
LifeSiteNews: You’ve got some bucks to work with now and a track record.
Severino: We’re hoping the Bella DVD is going to make the difference. May 6 is the date of the DVD release. Lion’s Gate is distributing the DVD. We’ll be targeting Wal-Marts, Blockbusters and everything else. It will be noted on our website and others.