Cannon Films became one of the biggest mid-level major during the ’80s with a slate of films that went from action to art house. The studio kept Charles Bronson a movie star, elevated Chuck Norris into a superstar and imported the Muscles From Brussels. They even produced Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, the greatest title for sequel in the history of cinema. Producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus became the next generation of Sam Arkoff and Roger Corman for movie makers with a dream they could crank out on a shoestring. After looking at the Australian and Filipino exploitation industry in Not Quite Hollywood & Machete Maidens Unleashed, director Mark Hartley is making Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. The documentary will be hitting screens at the end of 2012 along with a retrospective of the “best” Cannon released. Here’s the press release from Drafthouse Films:
Drafthouse Films, the distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, announced today the acquisition of all U.S. rights to Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films from world-wide sales agent Celluloid Nightmares. From cult film documentarian Mark Hartley (Not Quit Hollywood, Machete Maidens Unleashed), the film centers on the story of two Israeli-born, movie-obsessed cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus , who in pursuit of the “American dream” launched an indie studio that would produce over 120 exploitation films from 1979-1989 turning a renegade outfit into the proclaimed “seventh Hollywood major.” The film is currently in pre-production in Australia with producer Veronica Fury and executive producers XYZ Films (upcoming Sony Pictures release The Raid). A theatrical release is being planned for late 2012 to coincide with a traveling roadshow retrospective of Cannon’s seminal films.
While best known for their explosive ’80s action fare (Missing in Action, Death Wish sequels, Academy Award-nominated Runaway Train), Cannon Films’ diverse and ambitious production output also included body-count slashers (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), musicals and comedies (The Apple, Breakin’), science fiction and fantasy epics (Masters of the Universe, Lifeforce), martial arts classics (“American Ninja” series, Kickboxer), neo-noir crime thrillers (52 Pick-Up, 10 to Midnight), art-house dramas (Barfly, John Cassavetes ‘ Love Streams, Jean-Luc Godard ‘s King Lear), in addition to launching the careers of many future genre superstars like Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. “No other production organization in the world today,” proclaimed Roger Ebert in 1987, “has taken more chances with serious, marginal films than Cannon.”
“Cannon Films was an enterprise that in many ways defined exploitation cinema of the 1980s,” said Alamo Drafthouse Founder/CEO and Fantastic Fest Founder Tim League. “We are thrilled to share their untold legacy with movie fans around the country.” Drafthouse Films Director Evan Husney elaborated, “With director Mark Hartley at the helm, Electric Boogaloo is sure to be a wildly entertaining, comprehensive and frenetic no-holds-barred dive into the world of perhaps the most infamous production company in film history.”
“I was lucky enough to have my first feature Not Quite Hollywood screen at Fantastic Fest in 2008 — and ever since then the chance to revisit the festival and the Alamo Drafthouse has been one of the principal motivations for me to get out of bed and make more movies!” says director Mark Hartley. “The news that Drafthouse Films has joined the Electric Boogaloo party is beyond awesome. I know that Tim League and his team will find the most inventive, outrageous and ridiculously entertaining ways to roll the film out across America — and personally I can’t wait for the show to begin.”