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Labrador Pictures Announces Formation Of Labrador Releasing, Distributes First Title


Santa Barbara, California 12/29/05: Labrador Pictures has announced the formation of a new division and the release of its first title “Dave Barry’s Complete Guide To Guys,” based on Barry’s best-selling book. The movie is available through the company’s website, and also through, and Additional retail and rental outlets will be announced as deals are finalized.

Shot in Miami and Santa Barbara, the movie stars humorist Dave Barry as himself, joined by John Cleese, Dan Marino, and Carlos Ponce, in a thoroughly Barry-like attempt to explain key facets of Guy Behavior. Added to the mix are Lochlyn Munro and Christina Moore as an archetypical couple who, along with best friends Megan Ward and Khalil Kain, go all the way back to the Dawn of Guys, looking for answers that frankly just aren’t there.

Labrador’s distribution model breaks new ground, just as their development and production model did. Instead of the typical business model for a production company, Labrador was organized as a limited liability stock corporation, where investors buy shares in the company as opposed to one movie project in particular. As Labrador’s Managing Partner and the movie’s Executive Producer David Shor explains, “Investors are scared to death of putting money into movies – and for good reason. The key factor for us was that we went to people who invest very traditionally, and offered them a company with a structure they recognized, whose accountability to the stockholders was no different than IBM or GE. Unlike every horror story they might have heard, we could assure them that once we turn a profit, their money isn’t going to disappear into the ether of creative accounting. And that when the first film begets a second and a third, they share in those successes too, whether they put more money in or not.”

When it came to releasing the film, this same corporate responsibility to its stockholders led Labrador to expand into distribution. “All the models out there featured a standard distribution company getting upwards of 75% of the revenue of a film, when their investment in it might have been a relatively modest sum used for marketing, once the film was finished and most of the risk had been removed,” Shor says. “An arrangement like that, even with a successful film, could sink the company that made it, while the distributor is doing just fine. There was no way I could face our stockholders and tell them this was what we had done. I’d much rather tell them that we’re going to just work a little harder to get them a real return on their money.”

“Basically, we’d be paying (the distributors) to use their pipeline,” added co-founder Jeff Arch, who also wrote and directed the film. “Not that an established distributor’s pipeline is not a valuable thing – but it just seemed to be too high a price to pay. I was never good at math, but I get the difference between having to sell 200,000 copies to break even, and having to sell almost a million. So we decided to build our own pipeline.”

Labrador’s release pattern is also unconventional: DVD’s first, followed by TV and then selected theaters for limited engagements. Also, foreign territories were sold before domestic. “We know that sounds backwards,” says Shor. “But the standard model was created before the internet, before movie tickets cost what they do, before people could watch a movie at home on systems that often compete with the ones in theaters – without parking their cars and paying another small fortune for popcorn and a drink.”

“When the time comes, we’ll open in theaters in places where we’re already strong,” Shor adds. “We’ll advertise to a fan base that knows who we are, and knows they’re going to have a good time with other people who have also seen the movie, only now they get the group experience. They’ll know it’s worth their time and money before they leave the house.”

“Also, doing it this way gives us the same quality control over the marketing and distribution that we had with the movie itself,” Arch says. “Nobody can force an idea on us that we don’t like, or think is best for the product. We’re not going to lose interest, and we’re not going to let go until we can show a good profit and share our success with our investors. And after that? We do it again. With our own movies, and down the road with other independents – anyone with a product we can market, and who’d rather make money than lose it.”


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