Film companies targeting African-American audiences are making a big name for themselves, and at the top of the list is CodeBlack Entertainment. It is the first independent, vertically integrated film studio owned by an African American entrepreneur, producing $750 million in home entertainment revenue.
Founded in 2005 by Jeff Clanagan, CodeBlack Entertainment produced straight-to-DVD films for years before they finally signed a major distribution deal with Lionsgate, for which they now produce feature theatrical films and television series.
More than 300 titles
To date, Jeff and his company have produced and distributed over 300 movies and television specials.
Some of their home entertainment (DVD and streaming) releases have included Mr. Churchstarring Eddie Murphy; Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, starring the comedian himself; The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete starring Jennifer Hudson; Fire & Ice starring Kadeem Harrison and Lark Voorhies, and many other.
Their theatrical releases have included Frankie & Alice, a drama starring Halle Berry; Woman Art Thou Loosed starring Blair Underwood; Hair Show starring Mo’Nique; Repentence starring Forest Whitaker; Don’t Trip… He Ain’t Done With Me Yet starring Steve Harvey; and most recently, All Eyez on Me, a biopic about rapper Tupac Shakur.
Many of their films are initially released at the annual Sundance Film Festival and the American Black Film Festival.
How he got started
Jeff began his career in entertainment as a successful concert promoter in the music business. Back in the 1980’s, he promoted sold-out national concert tours featuring high-profile rappers such as LL Cool J, Run DMC, NWA, the Fatboys, MC Hammer, and even Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.
He later promoted R&B acts like New Edition, The Isley Brothers, and Luther Vandross. Later, he shifted to promoting hit stage plays and comedy tours.
Then, he finally entered the film industry after being appointed as President of No Limit Films, rapper Master P’s groundbreaking film company. His expertise helped that company to become a $40 million dollar multimedia enterprise, giving Jeff the confidence to one day form his own company.
And that’s exactly what he did in 2005, and until today, his company continues to thrive!
For more details about CodeBlack, visit www.codeblackfilms.com