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Studios look to capture war film viewers

July 28, 2007 at 1:32 PM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, July 28 (UPI) -- U.S. film studios are set to release a slew of politically themed movies this year, but careful strategy could be key to finding an audience.

Successful films like "Syriana" and "Hotel Rwanda" have encouraged studios to increase their output of films examining the Iraq war and other Middle East conflict, Variety reported Saturday.

New Line, for example, is set to release "Rendition," a movie about U.S. treatment of terror suspects starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon.

Universal, United Artists and Paramount Vantage also have movies in the works about topics such as life in post-Saddam Baghdad and the effects of war on soldiers and their families.

But simply making a good film -- even if it has plenty of star power -- is not enough, the magazine said.

"A Mighty Heart," starring Angelina Jolie, seemed a likely winner but underperformed at the box office. Studio executives acknowledged marketing mistakes such as over-emphasizing Jolie and being too eager to put the film in wide release.

Other studios are seeking to avoid these pitfalls by keeping film budgets under $30 million and calibrating release times to avoid overlap. Many of the movies also will open on far fewer than 3,000 screens.

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