Sony Pictures Classics has announced that they’ve acquired the rights to Mike Leigh‘s upcoming untitled film currently referred to as “Untitled Mike Leigh 13“. The film will focus on English artist J.M.W. Turner (1775 – 1851). Per Wikipedia, “Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivaling history painting.” The untitled film will reunite Leigh with Timothy Spall (Secrets & Lies and Topsy Turvy). Production begins this spring for a 2014 release.
Hit the jump for the press release.
As the 2013 Sundance Film Festival winds down to a close, a few more high profile acquisitions are taking place.
- Before Midnight – Director Richard Linklater’s simply incredible sequel to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset earned rave reviews following its premiere at the festival, and now Deadline reports that Sony Pictures Classics is making the acquisition in what’s shaping up to be one of the biggest deals of Sundance. Read Matt’s review here.
- Prince Avalanche – Director David Gordon Green’s refreshingly subdued and touching tiny-budget comedy starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch also earned great reviews, and Magnolia Pictures has acquired distribution rights for a summer 2013 release. Read Matt’s review here.
- Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – This Casey Affleck/Rooney Mara period crime film has earned comparisons to the work of Terrence Malick, and IFC Films has nabbed the U.S. rights for a multi-platform release later this year, per Deadline. Look for an awards season push.
- S-VHS – This horror anthology sequel earned better reviews that its predecessor, and Variety reports that Magnolia Pictures (who distributed the first film) has acquired the rights to release this pic as well.
Hit the jump to read the press releases and for images.
Today, we’ve learned that Woody Allen‘s upcoming film will be entitled Blue Jasmine. As we previously reported, the romantic comedy apparently centers on a woman whose “posh New York City lifestyle” comes crashing down so she makes a move to San Francisco. The press release adds, “It is the story of the final stages of an acute crisis and a life of a fashionable New York housewife.” As per usual, Allen has lined up a superb cast for his latest feature, which includes Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard, and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Hit the jump for the press release. Sony Pictures Classics will distribute Blue Jasmine, which is the sixth Allen picture for the studio. No word yet on the release date, but I’m willing to bet we’ll see it later this year since Allen manages to get out one new movie per year.
Robert Redford‘s The Company You Keep will make its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival—which doesn’t begin until August 29th—but Sony Pictures Classics isn’t wasting any time, and have snatched up the U.S. distribution rights to the film. In addition to directing, Redford also stars in the film as a civil rights lawyer who must go on the run when he’s outed by a young reporter (Shia LaBeouf) as being a former 1970s Weather Underground militant. I’m a little surprised at SPC’s eagerness to pick up the movie considering Redford hasn’t directed a good film since 1994′s Quiz Show, but maybe the execs like what they’ve seen. With a stellar ensemble cast that also includes Julie Christie, Sam Elliott, Brendan Gleeson, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brit Marling, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, and Susan Sarandon, the movie shouldn’t be a difficult sell to audiences.
Hit the jump for the press release. The Company You Keep will also play at the Toronto International Film Festival. There’s no word on a general release date, but it may hit theaters before the end of the year if Sony Pictures Classics thinks it could be an awards contender.
Sony Pictures Classics announced today that it has acquired North American rights to writer/director Pedro Almodovar’s next film, I’m So Excited. Plot details are firmly under wraps, but the pic is described as an ensemble comedy written and directed by the Talk to Her filmmaker. The cast for I’m So Excited includes Javier Cámara, Cecilia Roth, Lola Dueñas, Raul Arévalo, Carlos Areces, Antonio de la Torre, Hugo Silva, and more, with “special collaborations” from Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz and Paz Vega.
Almodovar’s most recent film, last year’s The Skin I Live In, was met with a mixed yet enthusiastic response. Production on I’m So Excited is scheduled to get underway next month for a release date sometime next year. Hit the jump to read the press release, which includes the full cast list.
The 2012 Cannes Film Festival has finally come to a close, and director Michael Haneke’s drama Amour took the festival’s top prize, the Palm d’Or. A trailer for the pic is now online, and Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have slated the film for a December 19th limited release here in the U.S. Last year’s Palm d’Or winner, The Tree of Life, went on to secure a Best Picture nomination, so clearly Sony is hoping for similar recognition with Amour by placing it in the heart of awards season. Haneke won the Grand Jury Prize in for The Piano Teacher in 2001, Best Director for Caché in 2005, and the Palme d’Or for The White Ribbon in 2009, so he’s no stranger to Cannes honors.
The French-language film focuses on an elderly couple whose bond is tested when the wife suffers a stroke. The trailer is predictably effective, with a walloping emotional punch at the end. I’m eager to see what all the fuss was about when the film finally opens stateside, and this clip is a nice primer of what’s to come. Hit the jump to watch the trailer.
Two movies found their North American distributors today.
- Dimension Films picked up Compulsion, a psychological thriller led by Heather Graham, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kevin Dillon, and Joe Mantegna.
- Sony Pictures Classics acquired Love Is All You Need, a romantic comedy set in Italy, directed by Susanne Bier (In a Better World). Pierce Brosnan, Trine Dyrholm, and Paprika Steen star.
The announcing press releases provide all the details after the jump.
No doubt hoping to capitalize on the success of last year’s Midnight in Paris, Sony Pictures Classics has announced a title change for Woody Allen’s next film. Previously titled Nero Fiddled, the pic will now be called To Rome With Love. The studio gives its reasoning for the title change as follows:
“The film’s former title, Nero Fiddled, while an appropriate and humorous phrase in the U.S., is not a familiar expression overseas and many international territories preferred a more globally understood name.”
This is actually the second title change for the pic, as Allen originally called it The Bop Decameron. Obviously, the film takes place in Rome, and it is comprised of four separate vignettes, two featuring American characters and two featuring Italian characters. Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page, Alison Pill, and Alessandra Mastronardi star. To Rome With Love opens on June 22nd. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
Following its much-anticipated premiere at last month’s Sundance Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired worldwide rights to director Amy Berg’s documentary West of Memphis. Produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, the film chronicles the new investigation surrounding the “West Memphis Three”, a trio of innocent men who were wrongly convicted of murdering three young boys in Arkansas in 1993 despite the fact that there was no evidence linking them to the crime. Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr. served nearly 20 years in prison (Echols on death row), before finally being released late last year. West of Memphis not only follows the fight to free the innocent men, but also seeks to provide evidence that convicts the true perpetrator of the crime.
I’m pleased to see that Sony Pictures Classics is handling the distribution, as I’m itching to get a look at the film. It premiered to positive reviews at Sundance, and Echols is actually a credited producer on the pic. There’s no word on what kind of distribution model is planned, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s given an awards push later this year. Hit the jump to watch the powerful trailer, followed by the full press release.
The alcoholism drama Smashed and the Bob Marley documentary Marley have now found a way to you. According to The Wrap, Sony Pictures Classics will distribute Smashed, which features a powerful performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead as an alcoholic who’s struggling to get sober. I caught the film at Sundance and was blown away by Winstead as well as her co-star Aaron Paul. As for Marley, the film was directed by Kevin Macdonald (Life in a Day) and will tell the legendary musician’s life story with unprecedented support from Marley’s family. The film will make its US premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in March.
Hit the jump for the press release for Marley.
Two of the more high profile films featured at this year’s Sundance Film Festival have now secured distribution. Fox Searchlight will handle the drama The Surrogate, while Sony Pictures Classics has picked up the comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever. The Surrogate is quickly becoming one of the more crowd-pleasing pics at the fest, picking up a considerable amount of buzz with each screening. The film stars John Hawkes as a paraplegic polio victim who sets out to find a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) wiling to take his virginity. Fox Searchlight acquired worldwide rights to the flick, which also stars William H. Macy.
Additionally, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired distribution rights to Celeste and Jesse Forever. Co-written by and starring Rashida Jones, the film centers on a couple that decides to break up. The impressive cast is rounded out by Andy Samberg, Emma Roberts, and Elijah Wood. Hit the jump to read the full press release regarding both acquisitions, and click here to read Matt’s review of the Celeste and Jesse Forever.
After one brief fling in 1999 with Sweet and Lowdown, Sony Pictures Classics got back in the Woody Allen business in 2009 to produce Whatever Works, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, and Midnight in Paris. The partnership was especially lucrative this year, since Midnight Paris grossed $144 million worldwide on the way to major Oscar buzz. So it comes as no surprise when SPC announced today their acquisition of Allen’s next project, Nero Fiddled. Said Allen:
“[Sony Pictures Classics] seems to be very sensitive to the kind of films I make, and I’m looking forward to working with them now again.”
Set in Rome, Nero Fiddled is comprised of four vignettes—two center on American characters; the other two center on Italians. Allen will step in front of the camera for the first time since 2006′s Scoop to take on a starring role alongside Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Ellen Page. The comedy is tentatively scheduled for a summer 2012 release. Read the press release after the jump.
This one’s for the ladies: Hysteria, the Tanya Wexler-directed picture starring Oscar-nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal, has sold its US and South African rights to Sony Pictures Classics. The romantic comedy is based on the historically (and hysterically) accurate tale of Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville’s invention of the first vibrator, all in the name of medical science. The heart of the film is about the realization that everyone is in control of their own happiness.
Written by Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer, and produced by the all-female trio of Sarah Curtis, Judy Cairo and Tracey Becker, Hysteria also stars Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and Felicity Jones. Hit the jump for more on Hysteria.
Sony Pictures Classics has picked up the worldwide rights to Jonathan Demme’s documentary Neil Young Journeys. The film follows Young’s journey to his hometown of Omemee Ontario where he played the last two nights of his solo world tour. The documentary mixes Young’s performances with his trip back into town. Neil Young Journeys is the third Neil Young doc from Demme who previously directed Neil Young: Heart of Gold and Neil Young Trunk Show. I missed Journeys when it played at the Toronto Film Festival, but I heard only positive things about the doc from those that saw it.
Hit the jump for the full press release.
Director David Cronenberg’s latest flick, A Dangerous Method, has been picked up for distribution by Sony Pictures Classics. Based on Christopher Hampton’s 2002 play The Talking Cure, the film centers on the relationship between Carl Jung (played by Michael Fassbender), his mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), the woman who came between them. The fantastic cast also includes Vincent Cassel. Images from the film were released late last year, giving us a preview of what’s sure to be one hell of a period film with Cronenberg at the helm. Hit the jump to read the full press release.