Academy Award-Nominated Screenwriter Alec Sokolow Adapted the Screenplay from Norman Miller’s Book, The Great Salad Oil Swindle, and is Set to Direct
New York, NY, April 12, 2022: Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (NYSE American: BTN) (the “Company” or “Ballantyne”) announced today that, Strong Studios, Inc. (“Strong Studios”), a subsidiary of the Company’s Strong Entertainment segment, acquired the rights and screenplay to its first original feature film, “The Tank Job,” a true-life crime drama adapted from Norman Miller’s book, The Great Salad Oil Swindle.
“The Tank Job” tells the true story of ex-butcher turned salad oil exporter Anthony “Tino” DeAngelis and his Bayonne, New Jersey blue collar crew as they conned and swindled, nearly destroyed American Express and eventually crashed Wall Street in their con to corner the market on salad oil futures in the early 1960s.
Academy Award-nominated Alec Sokolow (“Toy Story,” “Money Talks,” “Cheaper By the Dozen,” “Evan Almighty”) wrote the screenplay for “The Tank Job” and is set to direct. Sam Sokolow (NatGeo’s “Genius”) and Nicholas Levis (“Darkon,” “Who is Christmas Eve,” “Dreamkatcher,” “High Strung”) are producers. Award-winning business journalist, CNBC contributor, author and former hedge fund manager Ron Insana, CEO of Insana Entertainment Group will also produce. Ballantyne’s Chairman Kyle Cerminara and CEO Mark Roberson, and Strong Studios’ President David Ozer (“Willy’s Wonderland,” “Trigger Point”) serve as Executive Producers. Strong Studios is beginning discussions with potential distributors, broadcasters and streamers.
Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, commented, “I told Ron Insana that I would be delighted to see the story of the salad oil scandal made into a movie, and I am pleased that Ron and Strong Studios are now bringing this story to the big screen.”
In January 2021, Insana brought the idea for “The Tank Job” to Cerminara, and they have been collaborating on it ever since. Cerminara and Insana are former colleagues having worked together in the hedge fund industry under Steve Cohen of Point72. Both had aspirations of building feature films and documentaries that tell the stories of many of the recent great financial dramas that have occurred in the capital markets industry. It was the impetus for Ballantyne to create Strong Studios and hire Ozer to lead the charge of this business unit.
President of Strong Studios & Executive Producer David Ozer said, “The enormous fraud perpetrated by Allied Crude Vegetable Oil Refining Company and conman Anthony ”Tino“ De Angelis in 1963 is legendary, and I am excited to work with an all-star creative team to bring this riveting story of how the great salad oil scandal nearly crashed the market, swindled millions of dollars from investors, and almost decimated American Express.”
Producer & CEO of Insana Entertainment Ron Insana stated, “You couldn’t make Tino DeAngelis up. Everybody on the street knew the guy was shady. But, everybody was making money until, you know, they weren’t. This is a crazy comedy of errors and avarice and greed and lies and deceptions. You know, Wall Street. ‘The Tank Job’ will be like a love child of “The Big Short” and “My Cousin Vinny!”
This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of the securities of the Company or any of its subsidiaries, in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.
About Strong Studios
Strong Studios, headquartered in New York, NY, is a subsidiary of Ballantyne Strong, Inc.’s (NYSE American: BTN) Strong Entertainment segment. Strong Studios develops and produces original feature films and television series, as well as acquires third party rights to content for global multiplatform distribution. The new studio launched in March 2022 with an IP development slate acquisition and an initial distribution agreement with Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s Screen Media for two new scripted series, the supernatural horror “Safehaven,” and the dramedy “Flagrant,” with Michael Rapaport, which have both been officially greenlit for production this year. Screen Media will distribute both series, with their streaming services Crackle, Popcornflix, and Chicken Soup for the Soul having first rights to premiere. Additional series in Strong Studios’ development and production pipeline include “Shadows in the Vineyard,” starring Judith Light and Noah Wyle; the drama series, “Heartbeat,” co-created by legendary DJ couple Kiss and M.O.S.; and the horror series “MidNightMares.”
About Ballantyne Strong, Inc.
Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (www.ballantynestrong.com) is a diversified holding company with operations and holdings across a broad range of industries. The Company’s Strong Entertainment segment is the largest premium screen supplier in North America, provides technical support services and related products and services to the cinema exhibition industry, and recently launched its studio operations to produce content for streaming and other entertainment outlets. Ballantyne holds equity stakes in Firefly Systems, Inc., GreenFirst Forest Products Inc. (TSX: GFP), and FG Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: FGF), as well as real estate through its Digital Ignition operating business.
In addition to the historical information included herein, this press release includes forward-looking statements, such as management’s expectations regarding its portfolio companies, the Company’s intent to pursue an initial public offering and separate listing of its Entertainment business, as well as future sales, the impact, length and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, general economic recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the adequacy of the actions taken in response to the pandemic, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those discussed in the “Risk Factors” section contained in Item 1A in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 filed with the SEC on March 24, 2022, and the following risks and uncertainties: the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has already had, and may continue to have, on the Company’s business and financial condition; the impact on the global economy and supply chains of the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine and the sanctions related thereto; the Company’s ability to maintain and expand its revenue streams to compensate for the lower demand for the Company’s digital cinema products and installation services; potential interruptions of supplier relationships or higher prices charged by suppliers; the Company’s ability to successfully compete and introduce enhancements and new features that achieve market acceptance and that keep pace with technological developments; the Company’s ability to successfully execute its capital allocation strategy or achieve the returns it expects from these investments; the Company’s ability to maintain its brand and reputation and retain or replace its significant customers; challenges associated with the Company’s long sales cycles; the impact of a challenging global economic environment or a downturn in the markets (such as the current economic disruption and market volatility generated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing military conflict in Ukraine and related sanctions); economic and political risks of selling products in foreign countries (including tariffs); risks of non-compliance with U.S. and foreign laws and regulations, potential sales tax collections and claims for uncollected amounts; cybersecurity risks and risks of damage and interruptions of information technology systems; the Company’s ability to retain key members of management and successfully integrate new executives; the Company’s ability to complete acquisitions, strategic investments, entry into new lines of business, divestitures, mergers or other transactions on acceptable terms, or at all; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s portfolio companies; the Company’s ability to utilize or assert its intellectual property rights, the impact of natural disasters and other catastrophic events (such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing military conflict in Ukraine and related sanctions); the adequacy of insurance; the impact of having a controlling stockholder and vulnerability to fluctuation in the Company’s stock price. Given the risks and uncertainties, readers should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement and should recognize that the statements are predictions of future results which may not occur as anticipated. Many of the risks listed above have been, and may further be, exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on the cinema and entertainment industry, and the worsening economic environment. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements and from historical results, due to the risks and uncertainties described herein, as well as others not now anticipated. New risk factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for management to predict all such risk factors, nor can it assess the impact of all such factors on the Company’s business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Except where required by law, the Company assumes no obligation to update, withdraw or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or changes in factors or assumptions affecting such forward-looking statements.
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