Newfoundland and Labrador filmmaker Deanne Foley's debut feature film, Beat Down, is grappling with a new challenge — getting audiences into theatres, to ensure a longer run.

The movie — a father-daughter action-comedy centred on the underground wrestling scene — opened Friday across Atlantic Canada.


Robb Wells plays the role of Whitey in Beat Down. (

While it's a major accomplishment for the producers, the next hurdle is generating enough interest to prolong its run after a make-or-break weekend.

"The box office determines how long the film stays in the theatres," Foley said.

"So if people come out and we get great numbers, a lot of bums in seats on opening weekend, then they'll decide to keep the film for another week."

Beat Down stars many familiar faces from the Atlantic acting scene — Marthe Bernard and Mark O'Brien of Republic of Doyle fame, Robb Wells from the Trailer Park Boys, and Newfoundland comedy icon Andy Jones.

Bernard plays Fran Whiteway, an 18-year-old who dreams of becoming a professional wrestler. Her single father Whitey (played by Wells) is a former pro known as White Lightning. He is not keen.

"It was really important to me from the beginning to make sure that the wrestling would satisfy the most die-hard fan, but yet at the same time, you did not have to be a wrestler or a fan of wrestling to enjoy the story," Foley said.

She hopes the film will be picked up in larger centres like Toronto or Vancouver if it does well in the Atlantic region.