“Shut In,” announced Wednesday as The Daily Wire’s first original film, will be an important test.
As pop culture closes its doors to dissidents and the entertainment media landscape splinters into niches, there’s an opening for conservatives to back and create heterodox films. With smart leadership, a big following, and access to some serious cash, The Daily Wire is well-positioned to meet this demand.
In a Wednesday comment to The Federalist, Ben Shapiro made that argument. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring this tense, gripping thriller to our audiences.”
“We entered the entertainment space in order to deliver a message to Hollywood: You no longer have a monopoly,” Shapiro said. “The release of ‘Shut In’ is just the next step in proving it.”
If they succeed, it’ll go a long way toward disempowering Hollywood’s stranglehold over our culture, showing artists there’s a soft place for them to land when they get booted from Tinsel Town over a bad tweet. Case in point: Gina Carano is slated to start shooting her original film with The Daily Wire in October. The partnership was announced after Disney cut her from “The Mandalorian” over a post on social media.
On Wednesday, The Daily Wire announced that “Shut In” will premiere this January as an exclusive to the site’s members before launching internationally. Directed by D.J. Caruso (“Disturbia” and “Redeeming Love”), it stars Rainey Qualley of “Ultrasound.” (Qualley is the daughter of Andie MacDowell and the sister of Margaret Qualley.)
A synopsis provided by The Daily Wire describes the film as a “thriller” that “centers on a young single mother (Qualley) who is held captive along with her two children by a violent ex as she plots their escape before it’s too late.” The female-led action plot is thematically similar to Kyle Rankin’s “Run Hide Fight,” the movie acquired by The Daily Wire and launched by the conservative media company earlier this year.
Like “Run Hide Fight,” “Shut In” was also produced by Dallas Sonnier and Amanda Presmyk of Bonfire Legend, who acquired the script in 2018 from screenwriter Melanie Toast.
According to a Daily Wire press release, “Sonnier first discovered the Shut In script on The Black List website, purchased the rights, and introduced Toast to her agents at UTA. The project went on to be set up at New Line Cinema, and even got as far as starting pre-production with Jason Bateman as the director.”
But, the release continues, “The project fell apart, and after the option period ended, Sonnier chose to take the project out of New Line and over to The Daily Wire.”
Between the streaming-era break-up of the entertainment landscape and the demand for good movies that don’t toe Hollywood’s ideological line, the climate is ripe for projects like “Shut In.” Shapiro’s “message to Hollywood” could ring out loud and clear if the film does well.