No studio has kept busier over the past few days then FilmDistrict. On Thursday, FilmDistrict announced the acquisition of U.S. distribution rights to Arabian Nights, the 3D period action adventure led by Liam Hemsworth, and Playing the Field, the little league soccer comedy starring Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel.
Today the studio announced two more pickups: the time travel thriller Looper and Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey. Looper is the latest from writer/director Rian Johnson (The Brother’s Bloom), and we’ve geeked out about the production pretty extensively here at Collider — good to know it has distribution secured with Tri Star. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt star.
Today FilmDistrict also gave Jolie’s Bosnian Civil War drama a title and a release date: In the Land of Blood and Honey is scheduled for an Oscar-friendly December 23 release. More on all four movies after the break:
No press release yet for In the Land of Blood and Honey. But Jolie said in a statement to Variety:
“The film is specific to the Bosnian War, but it’s also universal. I wanted to tell a story of how human relationships and behavior are deeply affected by living inside a war.”
The cast includes Zana Majonovic (Snow) in the lead role and Rade Šerbedžija (Snatch); Brad Pitt is supposed to cameo. Šerbedžija provided this synopsis:
[In the Land of Blood and Honey] is a love story about a young Serb and a Muslim woman who fell in love several evenings before beginning of war in Bosnia. The action follows war events with the young Muslim woman ending up in a Serbian concentration camp from where she is somehow saved by the young Serb. Their love becomes passionate but impossible.
The official announcement — including extensive production details — for the other three movies follow:
FILMDISTRICT TEAMING UP WITH TRI STAR AND ENDGAME ENTERTAINMENT ON THE THEATRICAL RELEASE OF LOOPER STARRING JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, BRUCE WILLIS AND EMILY BLUNT
CANNES (May 15, 2011) – Endgame Entertainment and FilmDistrict are partnering on the theatrical release of Rian Johnson’s Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt. The film will be released in the U.S. through FilmDistrict’s relationship with Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Tri Star label. With a screenplay written and directed by Rian Johnson, the film is produced by Ram Bergman, Endgame Entertainment’s James D. Stern and in association with DMG. Endgame Entertainment’s Doug E. Hansen is executive producing.
“Looper is our second collaboration with Rian and Ram and it’s truly been a thrilling ride,” stated Endgame Entertainment CEO James D. Stern. “We look forward to continuing the journey with Sony and Peter in delivering this commercial thriller to audiences everywhere.”
Peter Schlessel, CEO of FilmDistrict said: “We have been chasing Looper for six months and it is something my entire team agreed would be a great film for us to distribute. The fact that our friends at Sony feel the same makes it even more exciting.”
Producer Ram Bergman said: “We are very excited to be working with the entire team at Sony and Peter. District 9 was brilliant and Rian, Jim and I had this and Sony in mind as the group we wanted to release Looper.”
Looper is a time-travel action thriller involves a killer (Gordon-Levitt) who works for the mob of the future. He, along with other so-called Loopers, dispose of people that are sent from the future. When he recognizes one victim as his future self (Willis), he hesitates, letting the man escape. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales on Looper.
CAA negotiated the deal on behalf of Endgame Entertainment and Adrian Alperovich, President of Acquisitions negotiated on behalf FilmDistrict.
FILMDISTRICT TAKES U.S. RIGHTS TO INFERNO ENTERTAINMENT’S ARABIAN NIGHTS
3D Action Adventure Will Be Helmed by Chuck Russell With Liam Hemsworth in Lead Role
Cannes, FRANCE (May 12, 2011) – FilmDistrict announced today the company has acquired all U.S. rights from Inferno Entertainment to ARABIAN NIGHTS, with Chuck Russell (The Mask, Scorpion King) set to direct and Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) set to star. Russell also co-wrote the screenplay with Barry Ambrose. Inferno’s Bill Johnson is producing the film with ROAR’s Will Ward and Jay Froberg, and Mayhem Pictures’ Mark Ciardi. Inferno’s Jim Seibel is executive producing. Inferno is handling worldwide sales of the film.
ARABIAN NIGHTS is a visually stunning 3-D retelling of the classic adventure tale about a bold, young commander (Hemsworth) who joins forces with Sinbad, Aladdin and his Genie to rescue Scheherazade and save her Kingdom from the dark powers of an immortal Sorcerer. The film weaves together several beloved tales and characters into a wild magic carpet ride for all ages.
“Chuck Russell’s film is entertainment on a grand scale,” says Peter Schlessel, CEO of FilmDistrict. “With its enchanting story and astonishing visuals, ARABIAN NIGHTS truly creates cinematic magic.”
“ARABIAN NIGHTS is a fun family adventure in the tradition of the classic Ray Harryhausen movies,” says Bob Berney, President, Theatrical Distribution, FilmDistrict. “His mash-up of characters and legends into one story is a very cool concept.”
In addition to this film, Inferno is currently in pre-production on THE HOST (based on the best-selling book by Stephenie Meyer) starring Saoirse Ronan; and in post-production on Andrew Dominik’s COGANS TRADE starring Brad Pitt; Joe Carnahan’s THE GREY starring Liam Neeson; and Gary McKendry’s KILLER ELITE starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Robert DeNiro.
Playing the Field
FILMDISTRICT SCORES ‘PLAYING THE FIELD’
Gerard Butler & Jessica Biel Headline Soccer-Mom Rom Com; Star-Studded Cast Includes Uma Thurman, Judy Greer, Dennis Quaid and Catherine Zeta-Jones
NEW YORK, May 12, 2011 – FilmDistrict has acquired all US rights to PLAYING THE FIELD from Nu Image/Millennium Films. Directed by Gabriele Muccino (THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS) from a script by Robbie Fox (SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER), PLAYING THE FIELD is in production by Gerard Butler and Alan Siegel’s Evil Twin Productions in association with Kevin Misher, Jonathan Mostow, Heidi Jo Markel and John Thompson. Nu Image / Millennium Films’ Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short & Avi Lerner are serving as Executive Producers. Headlined by Butler and Jessica Biel, the A-list cast includes Judy Greer, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones. FilmDistrict is planning to release the film in Spring 2012.
PLAYING THE FIELD kicks off with the homecoming of George (Gerard Butler), a retired soccer pro whose glory days are behind him. Burnt out on his playboy lifestyle and bankrupted by a string of bad investments, George moves back to Virginia to reconnect with his estranged ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and neglected son (Noah Lomax). Making up for lost time, George starts to coach the boys’ soccer team. But can he keep his eyes on the goal when the bleachers are stacked with sexy soccer moms and desperate housewives?
Says FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel, “PLAYING THE FIELD is a fun PG-13 romantic comedy that in the very capable hands of Gabriele Muccino is sure to be a hit. The great comedic cast will definitely have fun with Robbie Fox’s terrific script.”
“We are very pleased to have closed this deal with Peter Schlessel and FilmDistrict for “PLAYING THE FIELD” and hope it will be the first of many to come. I am confident they will do a great job bringing this picture to market”, says Avi Lerner, Co-Chairman of Nu Image/Millennium Films.