Moving Picture World – December 18, 1920
In the Independent Field
Frohman Amusement Corporation to State Right Lillian Gish Specials
The Frohman Amusement Corporation announces that the productions made by it and in which Lillian Gish is to star will be distributed under franchises to be awarded to state rights buyers.
There will be either four or five during 1921 and the same number during 1922. The first, which will be ready for release about February 15, has the working title of “World Shadows” but the final has not yet been decided upon. Five franchises have already been awarded but the holders will not be announced until the entire United States has been disposed of.
“We have received numerous inquiries from independent buyers and national distributing organizations regarding our plan of distribution, and were flattered by offers from two of the national organizations,” said Mr. Sherrill, president of the company, “but, after canvassing the situation, Miss Gish agreed with me that to independently exploit the productions would be a better medium. “We were somewhat diffident of not being able to secure 100 per cent, distribution but find that the state rights market is thoroughly established and there are in each territory certain exchanges properly qualified to handle the productions, and are convinced that the first-run houses are at all times prepared to book worthwhile independent attractions, paying for them commensurate with their box-office worth.
“Miss Gish has been given every form of assistance, the story we believe to be unsurpassed for intensity of dramatic theme, depth of heart interest and general appeal. It is by Madame Fred DeGresac and it is a subject of world-wide appeal. The director, Jerome Storm, needs no introduction to the picture public because of his excellent work with the Charles Ray pictures. “There are nineteen principals in support of Miss Gish, who were chosen because of acting ability and exactness to type. The exploitation is to be in keeping with the productions, and we are mapping out a plan to continue throughout the two years of the contract. The staff is being enlarged and exploitation experts will operate under ideas entirely new to the industry.
“For the technical and studio staff we have engaged men who are not an experiment. The company has been actively engaged at the Biograph studio for upward of six weeks. An art director and special form of lighting equipment was brought from Los Angeles, and several of the employes worked on ‘Way Down East.’ “I feel that the independent buyer will appreciate this opportunity to acquire productions as great as those made by any national distributor or otherwise. Exhibitor organizations have passed resolutions urging support of the independent producer, and it is fundamentally because of this that I have prevailed upon Miss Gish to consent to this medium of distribution. “Negotiations are pending for foreign distribution rights, two offers having already been cabled from London.”
The announcement from the Frohman Amusement Corporation that its productions in which Lillian Gish is to star will be marketed independently will be fine news for state rights men throughout the country. When so important a star in big pictures is placed on the independent market it is a stride upwards for that field. We bespeak for Mr. William L. Sherrill, president of the corporation, and for Miss Gish, the star, a very successful outcome of their plans. We believe in the soundness of the idea and we are assured that the productions will be of the very highest standards.