This Indie Film Company Is Seeking an Ad Agency to Handle Its $350 Million Marketing Budget

First project will be shark flick 47 Meters Down

The company seeks an AOR to promote films like the summer thriller starring Mandy Moore.
Entertainment Studios

Entertainment Studios, Inc. has launched a search for a new full-service agency partner to help promote its slate of feature films.

The company’s distribution unit Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures was created in late 2015 when serial entrepreneur Byron Allen acquired Freestyle Releasing, and it plans to expand domestically and internationally by releasing 17 films per year.

According to the company’s own estimates, the winner of this agency review will manage a $350 million annual budget promoting the movies, each of which will be screened in 1,500-4,000 North American theaters before moving to DVD and streaming services. (Entertainment Studios has related distribution deals with Lionsgate and Netflix, respectively.)

“We’re looking for an agency of record,” Allen told Adweek. “It would be creative, planning and buying for traditional and digital media.” His company has worked with creative agencies in the past on a per-project basis but now wants a long-term relationship. “I call it a five-year, multi-billion dollar account for the right agency,” Allen said.

That agency’s first project will be marketing 47 Meters Down, a summer thriller starring This Is Us lead Mandy Moore, Claire Holt and several very hungry great white sharks. This fall, the studio will also release a social media-themed horror film called Friend Request.

Regarding the $350 million total, Allen—who made his name in television and also acquired the African-American news site The Grio last summer—estimates that each of his studio’s 17 annual releases will come with a marketing budget of approximately $20 million.

“We really have an opportunity to maintain an independent spirit but pursue [our expansion] aggressively like a mainstream studio,” Allen said. His company has begun working with a group of consultants to manage the review, and he said that Entertainment Studios is less concerned with the winning agency’s location or familiarity with the film industry than with its “talent, passion, commitment and partnership.”