Ringo Starr, That’ll Be The Day

Boxoffice Magazine, November 11, 1974:

Mayfair Film Group Release Lineup Launched With That’ll Be The Day

HOLLYWOOD – Mayfair Film Group, a new independent distribution company headed by three co-directors under 30 years of age, kicked off its release schedule with the British import That’ll be the Day, starring David Essex and Ringo Starr, breaking house records at the Beverly Cannon Theatre Wednesday, October 30.

Ringo and Rock Stars Attend

Fans crowded outside the filled theatre for a glimpse of Ringo, ex-Beatles drummer, who attended the West Coast premiere. Also attending the opening were rock stars Keith Moon, drummer for the Who with a cameo role in the film, Harry Nilsson and Ted Neely, star of Jesus Christ Super-Star. Contributing to the showmanship of the occasion, ushers, cashiers, concessionaires and ticket takers dressed in 1950 teenage attire, the movie being a look at the English 50s rock scene and the making of a rock star. For his performance in That’ll Be the Day, Ringo as been suggested for an Oscar for the best supporting actor. Careful attention and individual handling mark the Mayfair Film Group’s initial success, according to Richard Chase co-director with Ken Greenstone and Jerry Harvey. For us there’s no product shortage Chase noted. It’s not necessary for use to release more than five or six pictures a year. We’re not taking nickel and dime movies. All the pictures that we’ve acquired have tremendous critical support and we think that’s important.

Chase, in foreign production and distributing in the last several years, has won the confidence of English producers, David Puttnam and and Sanford Lieberson, acquiring their That’ll Be the Day from the Walter Reade Organization, and also their romantic epic Mahler. The latter, the official British entry at Cannes will be released after January 1 in stereo and in situations with the proper 70mm equipment. Careful and tight cooperation with exhibitors are two of the new company’s strong points,

Advertising Aid to Be Given

We have the time and money to go to the market to give the exhibitor media support, Chase said. We’re saying, work with us and we will work with you. Jerry Harvey, general sales manager, is booking key engagements from the firm’s Beverly Hills offices. Advertising- personnel will be traveling to every major city to help the media campaign. We want to see every ad and hear every radio spot, Chase emphasized. Those are as important to us as are the terms of the contract. The directors see Mayfair Film Group filling the gap by the demise of the art-house circuit with returns of $1 million on a film as a practical goal. Harvey, a booker at Pacific Theatres, noted that discussions are underway with Columbia Pictures to set up an arm to give special handling to foreign films. Mayfair and Columbia, he said are working very closely on Stardust, sequel to That’ll Be the Day, with Columbia to release the sequel in January.

Ken Greenstone, third Mayfair partner, is the stepson of the late Herb Rosner whose theatres now number 18 but once included more than 40. Beverly Mesa Theatres, Mayfair affiliate, has acquired the Beverly Cannon from the Rosner circuit and is adding more theatres in San Francisco, Portland and in the East. The Beverly Mesa units will be used to set performance indexes to demonstrate to exhibitors the box office power of Mayfair releases. Meanwhile, Mayfair’s small staff already has booked That’ll Be the Day onto Dwight Harkin’s seven screens in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area for a Wednesday (27) opening. San Diego and Santa Barbara will have simultaneous openings. Outside the Western region and New York City, sub-distributors will handle the film. Joyce Fantin, who worked with the Paradigm Film Distributors, is mapping the Mahler campaign and exploring five day bookings in conjunction with the American Film Theatre’s programs. Chase says he doesn’t go along with penalizing exhibitors for participating in ATF’s program and wants to work with them.

Mayfair’s third feature release will be Chase’s No Go based on actual Communist gurella activity in northing Ireland. Chase points out that Mayfair is aiming for a balance by pitching That’ll Be the Day at major cities and small towns, Mahler at the big cities and No Go for the collegiate circuit. Greenstone will be touring the country late to meet with exhibitors and sub-distributors.