18 December 2013 5:02 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Billy Jack’: Tom Laughlin helped to revolutionize Hollywood’s film distribution system (See previous post: “Tom Laughlin: ‘Billy Jack’ Actor and Director, Robert Altman Difficult Star Dead at 82.”) Featuring the titular hero as a semi-mystical figure who, with a mixture of steely determination and purposeful violence, helps to rescue wild horses from becoming dog meat and allows an independent school to continue operating at an Indian reservation in Arizona — against the wishes of white reactionary bigots and ruthless capitalists — Billy Jack was a box office disappointment when released by Warner Bros. at, in Tom Laughlin’s words, "porno houses" (and drive-ins) in 1971. (Photo: Tom Laughlin in Billy Jack.) Unhappy with the studio’s handling of his film, Laughlin sued Warners. In May 1973, following a settlement with the studio, he began self-distributing Billy Jack at small-town movie theaters throughout the United States. He hired marketing expert, former United Artists honcho, »

- Andre Soares

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