Magazine article Variety

Lerner: 'The Grey Zone' Is My Favorite Mistake

Magazine article Variety

Lerner: 'The Grey Zone' Is My Favorite Mistake

Article excerpt

The one-sheet for the 2001 Holocaust drama "The Grey Zone" hangs above Avi Lerner's desk. An ink-black rectangle with a foggy keyhole image of a hunched man at its center, it contrasts starkly with the other, more colorful posters that line the walls, along with Lakers memorabilia and smiling celebrity photos. The movie, about a Jewish doctor working for the Nazis at Auschwitz, is Lerner's proudest accomplishment and his biggest failure.

"This is best picture, the most emotional movie," says the chairman and co-founder of Nu Image Films, "but this is the only movie I can say I knew when I'm making I'm going to lose money, and we lost money. But, any other movie, we always somehow managed to survive."

To Lerner's mind, that survival is his most noteworthy accomplishment, even bigger than the company's blockbuster success of the "Expendables" movies.

As for regrets, the former Tel Aviv drive-in operator has a few, although he doesn't like to characterize them as such.

First Look Pictures tops his list of misfires. Nu Image bought a controlling interest in the company in March 2007, planning to use it as a domestic distributor for its product. It collapsed in flurry of flops, lawsuits and bitter accusations from producers, but not before Lerner and company purchased its valuable 700-title library for under $6 million. …

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