A divided nation at an explosive crossroads. Warring gods and pulpits. White supremacists and black militants. Gory trenches and glamorous throne rooms. An American President and the Queen of England. And through it all the blazing valor of the most unlikely warriors.
Realm Entertainment presents:
“Steal Away is a touching true story brilliantly brought to life.”
“Their story is epic. Their journey is unforgettable.
This is a deeply captivating story sure to touch audiences.”
“Steal Away has a Spielbergian quality with humor, heartbreak
and deep emotional transformation.”
“This is a moving story that had me in tears.
There’s a strong audience for Steal Away.”
(coverage quotes from Scriptapalooza and Coverfly)
A sweeping epic based on Andrew Ward’s Dark Midnight When I Rise, Steal Away is the legendary true story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a sensational student choir of young former slaves fighting the KKK’s reign of terror against their schools not with bullets or bombs, but electrifying songs of faith and freedom. Steal Away follows the Jubilees’ titanic rise from the darkness of slavery to the glittering ballrooms of Europe as they become international heroes… and must then face their own demons.
As the meticulous development process for New Line Cinema’s $5.2 billion1 grossing The Lord of the Rings trilogy proves, timeless classics aren’t rushed to the screen but painstakingly crafted. Eight years in the writing, Steal Away’s screenplay has received superlative praise from two of Hollywood’s premier coverage houses, Scriptapalooza and Coverfly (quotes cited throughout).
Steal Away Highlights, Blockbuster Comparables:
Realm is creating spectacularly diverse must-see entertainment that captivates the world. Our slate of high-concept, universally appealing motion pictures tell timeless stories poised to become beloved classics.
Just as the beloved Jubilee Singers captured hearts across America, Europe and Asia, so will their heroic, heart-stirring story conquer screens worldwide. Queen Victoria was so awed by the choir that she commissioned the life-sized portrait of them previously shown. As detailed below, leading box-office analytics firm Nash Information Services forecasts blockbuster global returns for Steal Away, naming smash hits Bohemian Rhapsody, Titanic, The Greatest Showman, The King’s Speech, The Passion of the Christ and other box-office behemoths depicted in this presentation as revenue comparables:
LEGENDARY TRUE STORY
“Steal Away is an incredible true story with raw emotion, human connection, romance, heartbreak, laughter and everything in between.
True sagas rule the screen. Told in a dazzling book, a ravishing PBS special (“Sacrifice and Glory”) and now a critically acclaimed screenplay, the Jubilees’ searing battle for the soul of America is one of the most breathtaking stories ever known.
“From its memorable opening scene to its fantastic ending, Steal Away is an epic cinematic story.”
The Greatest Showman
The Lord of the Rings (trilogy)
Saving Private Ryan
Dances with Wolves
Audiences pay to be swept away. The Jubilees’ almost mythological journey from the hell of the Deep South to the heights of global fame, to their self-inflicted scandal, shocking fall from glory, and harrowing plunge to the brink of death, then on to a thunderous resurrection plays out over an epic arc nearly unrivaled in cinema history.
“The characters are beautifully crafted, with poignant scenes and a vividly painted world. Ella is a brilliant protagonist.”
From New York to Beijing, fans want their heroes larger than life. Steal Away’s diverse international cast features a delicious kaleidoscope of colorful characters. Driving the Jubilees with breakneck force is the unstoppable, unsinkable Ella Sheppard, seated with her arm on the piano in the portrait. Damned by past sins and desperate for redemption, she is an almost herculean force of nature that comes to terrify even the choir. The towering, tortured Ella will be one of the most spellbinding heroines ever onscreen.
“Ella’s romance with Wallace is nothing short of perfection.”
Silver Linings Playbook
Epic love packs theaters. Ella and Wallace are from violently far-flung worlds. The KKK’s murder of his family has made him a raging militant, while she’s staking her life on a colorblind future. Their war-torn love is a powder keg set to explode.
“Steal Away is a real page-turner that constantly raises the stakes. The plot twists and turns with strong, surprising developments.”
Moviegoers pay to be pushed to the edge of their seats, hearts pounding as their heroes battle the forces of destruction. Consummating their conquest of the South, the KKK unleashes an apocalyptic reign of terror against the innocent. As the horrific attack unfolds, the Jubilees charge through the chaos like warriors, dodging bullets and shrapnel to rescue victims. The heart-stopping massacre ends with a devastating explosion and cataclysmic fireball that shatter all hope for a free America.
“Steal Away is an incredible accomplishment. I teared up and had chills multiple times.”
The Pursuit of Happiness
The Passion of the Christ
The Blind Side
Redemption reigns. Audiences will brave hell with their heroes when resurrection lies ahead. As the Jubilees and their quest smolder in ruins and the future looks tragically lost, suddenly… from the most unexpected place… hope sparks. The choir’s triumphal revival from the jaws of defeat to the battleground for tomorrow will leave audiences cheering – and crashing the box office again.
A Star Is Born
La La Land
Les Misérables (2012)
Straight Outta Compton
Pitch Perfect 2
Sensational songs bring down the house – Steal Away comparable Bohemian Rhapsody has grossed nearly $2 billion across global platforms. Steal Away will feature electrifying arrangements of some of the most cherished music of all time – songs that gave birth to The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift – and a ravishing score by multi-Grammy legend Billy Childs.
1 Except where otherwise noted, all figures are global trans-platform revenues per Nash Information Services and include verified television, home video, streaming and other ancillary revenues
2 Global trans-platform revenue estimated at 2x recorded theatrical gross
Astronomically Bloated Budgets
Value of global entertainment and media market in trillions of dollars, per Statista
The phenomenal news for both the studios and independent producers is that the $2.3 trillion global media industry is skyrocketing as audiences everywhere demand more – and more amazing – content. But as proficient as the studios are at getting their movies to the world, their notoriously wasteful production budgets help doom half of their releases to losses and curb what should be far greater profits for successful films.
So while no one can naysay Avengers: Endgame’s 785% gross box-office return over its $356 million budget, independent producers are delivering exponentially greater returns:
Paranormal Activity 2
The Blair Witch Project
Night of the Living Dead
Friday the 13th
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The Full Monty
Paranormal Activity 2
Lost in Translation
(Not ROIs, theatrical grosses vs. production budgets. Inclusion of television, home video and streaming revenues significantly increases these figures.)
Making Steal Away:
Blockbuster Entertainment, Budget Pricing
While the studios grossly overspend, cost-driven indie producers have long made movies for nickels on the dollar. The storied “Pope of Pop Cinema” Roger Corman has produced 400 motion pictures, 399 of them moneymakers. Procuring bottom-dollar pricing on all preproduction, production and post-production costings, the tightfisted Corman squeezes blood from every budget, delivering the consistently high ROIs that made his New World Pictures a relentless cash cow. Meanwhile, his eye for brilliant undiscovered talent has given us superstars Jack Nicholson, Sandra Bullock, James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola, Sylvester Stallone, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, composer James Horner, Spielberg cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, Ron Howard (as director), Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme, and many others.
Corman’s genre films aren’t exactly Oscar contenders, but first-rate filmmakers use the same cost- leadership methods to make powerful, award-winning, blockbuster motion pictures. George Lucas produced Star Wars: A New Hope for only $11 million, filming epic battleship scenes in sunlit parking lots to save money, delivering a gargantuan 14,500% box-office-to-budget return and launching what would become a $65 billion perpetual money machine. Realm Entertainment founder Stephen Blake cut his teeth as a young cinematographer on a string of tremendously profitable genre films which, while plagued with wretched scripts, were masterfully produced, their micro-budgets parlayed into enormous ROIs. Blake successfully translated these indie strategies to the music video domain, directing and producing universally acclaimed music videos with world-class production value at low cost.
Realm will deploy these time-tested methods to maximize Steal Away’s already colossal profit potential.
To produce Steal Away with Hollywood-scale production value at a fraction of studio cost, Realm has commissioned its budget and schedule from eminent line producer Kelly Todd. Todd’s fiscal mastery is so renowned that she was recently named VP of Feature Production at William Morris Endeavor’s corporate sister, Endeavor Content. With its epic cast, locations, action sequences, production design, costume design, cinematography and soundtrack, Paramount or Disney would almost certainly spend upwards of $175 million to make Steal Away. Budgeting on an indie cost basis, Todd brings it in at a lean $32.88 million, $25 million after tax rebates, a mammoth 80% cost savings that dramatically advances Steal Away’s profit point.
(Now with Endeavor Content, Todd is not currently affiliated with Steal Away. Todd’s budget, schedule, and Steal Away’s screenplay will be released to prospective Equity Partners upon execution of Realm’s NDA.)
$356 Million – $1.8 Billion Projected Revenues:
Nash Information Services
Produced without profit-draining presales, Realm will engage leading distributors for Steal Away across all global platforms: Theatrical, Transactional Video on Demand (iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, etc.); Subscription Video on Demand (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.); Ad-based Video on Demand (Crackle, Hulu, etc.); Pay TV (HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.); Network TV; Transportational (airplanes, trains, ships, etc.); and Non-Theatrical/Semi-Theatrical/Nontraditional Theatrical (educational institutions, libraries, film societies, festivals, museums, military bases, hospitals, hotels, religious institutions, etc.); while exploiting Steal Away’s immensely lucrative merchandising, soundtrack and music publishing revenue corridors.
To independently forecast Steal Away’s global returns, Realm has commissioned Nash Information Services (NIS), one of the world’s leading box-office analytics firms. With its proprietary revenue modeling systems and trans-platform distribution dataset, which includes carefully guarded home video, television and streaming earnings records not published elsewhere, NIS is one of the industry’s most trusted predictors of box-office receipts. Its Comp Analysis Reports, consulted by studios, agencies, media conglomerates, investment banks and industry retailers worldwide, are the gold standard in motion picture revenue and profit projections.
NIS’s Comp Analysis Report for Steal Away will be made available to prospective Equity Partners.
As the report shows, Steal Away is poised to be a blockbuster. Naming very high-grossing recent releases as box-office comparables, NIS projects median trans-platform revenues of $696 million with the potential to reach $1.8 billion should Steal Away match or surpass Bohemian Rhapsody’s success.
Hollywood entertainment at indie pricing with banner projections from one of the industry’s premiere forecasters, Realm promises Steal Away’s Equity Partners an exponential projected profit yield.
Breaking Brilliant Urban Talent
In 2011, Stephen Blake met with an extraordinarily gifted young filmmaker at the USC screening of his short film. A sharp storyteller with keen cinematic instincts, Blake took his card expectantly… then smiled when his Black Panther later became one of the biggest box-office sensations in history. Thankfully, Ryan Coogler’s formidable talent had been spotted by Hollywood.
But Hollywood can’t see what it’s not looking at. Far from gilded campuses and ivy leagues, America’s beleaguered black colleges and universities are teeming with some of the most brilliant, overlooked creative minds on Earth.
Founded following 250 years of American slavery, HBCUs rose up to level the playing field of opportunity for the oppressed and ignored. Joining this monumental legacy, vision and struggle, Realm will take a vanguard role in financially sustaining these venerable institutions while breaking their outstanding undiscovered filmmakers into the $2.3 trillion-dollar global media industry.
Beginning with the Jubilee Singers’ alma mater, Realm will endow Fisk University with profit participation in Steal Away’s net revenues, funding to potentially exceed $10 million. Meanwhile, in developing, casting and crewing its expanding slate, Realm will perpetually scour the nation’s HBCUs for tomorrow’s Ryan Cooglers, Ruth E. Carters and Bradford Youngs, lighting up global screens with their vibrant visions and voices.
STEPHEN ASHLEY BLAKE
In his infamous 1861 “Cornerstone Speech,” Confederacy Vice President Alexander H. Stephens declared, “Our new government is founded upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man, that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. Our new government is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical and moral truth.” Flash forward: Years later, the Jubilee Singers paid a visit to Stephens in Washington. They sang to him “Steal Away,” the soul-stirring spiritual that had rallied so many slaves to freedom. Enthralled by its power and almost otherworldly beauty, Stephens gasped, “Oh, it is wonderful. I’ve never heard anything like it,” then “covered his face as if the Jubilees were bearing him on their hearts to the throne of Grace.” When Stephens came to himself, this outspoken hatemonger, deeply moved, vowed to pursue the cause of equality for as long as he lived.
When filmmaker Stephen Blake read this and the many staggering accounts of this warrior choir conquering hate with weapons of hope that fill Andrew Ward’s Dark Midnight When I Rise, all other work came to a halt. Having recently renounced his legacy as a gangster rap music video director, he became passionate about bringing this sweeping story of redemption and light to our ever-darkening world. With his wife’s treasured support, they mortgaged their home, acquired the rights to Dark Midnight and embarked upon adapting the Jubilees’ unbelievable story for the screen.
Blake’s credits span over 200 productions, including iconic music videos for recording artists Wu-Tang, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J (“Mama Said Knock You Out”), Bono, Chris Rock, Kirk Franklin, Public Enemy, Digital Underground, Bell Biv Devoe and Neil Young at Geffen, Motown, Interscope, Virgin, Capitol, Columbia, MCA, RCA, Atlantic, Elektra, Epic, Island, Def Jam and Arista. His motion picture, television and commercial credits include productions for Universal, Paramount, Warner Brothers, Sony, HBO, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Fox Television and USA Network.
Loved by audiences around the world, Billy Childs forges breathtaking blends of jazz, orchestral and choral music. His Holocaust epic “The Voices of Angels,” a moving choral and orchestral setting of writings of children from the Terezin concentration camp, was premiered by The Los Angeles Master Chorale to rapturous acclaim. He has composed for and/or performed with Sting, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Alison Krause, Renee Fleming, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Freddie Hubbard, Dave Holland, Ron Carter, J.J. Johnson, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Detroit Symphony, The Kronos Quartet, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The American Brass Quintet, The Dorian Wind Quintet, The Ying Quartet and violin luminary Rachel Barton Pine.
Internationally acclaimed gospel arranger Diane White-Clayton has captivated audiences from Los Angeles, Toronto and London to Paris, Sweden and Norway. She has brought down the house as Artistic Director of the famed Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers; Artistic Director of the Washington Performing Arts Society; Composer-in-Residence at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Vocal Workshop Clinician at the Disney Performing Arts Conservatory; Choral Conductor for the world-renowned Andraé Crouch; Artist- in-Residence at Appalachian State University and Westmont College; Professor at Loyola Marymount University; Scholar-in-Residence at Grinnell College; and Founder and Choral Conductor of the celebrated Sacred Praise Chorale.