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Byron Allen Released the Highest-Grossing Indie of the Year, but Won’t Be Satisfied Until He’s the Next Walt Disney

Summer is rarely the kindest season for indie film, but this year one title stood out: “47 Meters Down,” released by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios. The Mandy Moore shark movie, which the distributor rescued from Dimension Films moments before it went direct to DVD, has earned over $42 million in its domestic release. It’s impressive — but Allen scoffed at the idea of becoming the new king of independents.

“I’m not chasing independence, I’m chasing Walt Disney,” he said. “I’m looking for a large piece of that box-office pie, not a tiny piece of that box-office pie.”

Allen, who began as a stand-up comedian, has the ambition to be a modern-day Walt Disney — or, he could be a 21st-century Don Quixote. As founder, chairman, and CEO of Entertainment Studios, Allen makes over $100 million annually syndicating and selling ad time on low-budget shows like “Comics Unleashed” and “We the People With Gloria Allred,

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