As Most Studios Sit Out the Pandemic, Some Indies Are Scoring Surprise Box Office Hits

Jeremy Fuster
·1-min read

There was a point when screenwriters Chris Charles and Danny Kravitz didn’t know if their film, the Liam Neeson thriller “The Marksman,” was even going to hit theaters after it wrapped production in the fall of 2019. The coronavirus nearly derailed release plans until Open Road Films came up with a bold move to release the film in January 2021 despite the ongoing pandemic. “When Danny and I first found out that our film was coming out in January, we were shocked. Clearly, it wasn’t what we had anticipated, but how could anyone see this coming?” Charles said. “But the more we talked with the studio and understood the release strategy, we understood how it made so much sense. And we’ve been so pleased to see the film find an audience and continue to do so as we’ve come out of the pandemic this year.” As it turned out, “The Marksman” became the No. 1 film at the box office for two weekends in January as the pandemic hit its most intense stage. With only 2,387 theaters open in North America — 43% of 2019 levels — the film grossed $15 million domestically. The L.A.-based distributor had scored another Liam...

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