Marc Forster’s MACHINE GUN PREACHER Slated for September 23rd

     July 7, 2011

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Relativity Media has picked up Marc Forster’s drama Machine Gun Preacher and will give the film a limited release on September 23rd.  The movie is based on the real-life story of Sam Childers (played by Gerard Butler), a former drug-dealer who eventually became a crusader for hundreds of refugee children in East Africa.  The film also stars Michelle Monaghan, Kathy Baker, and Michael Shannon.

Since it’s opening in limited release (most likely to build buzz for a possible awards run), it won’t really be competing against the movies opening in wide release, but here’s the list anyway: Abduction starring Taylor Lautner, the family film Dolphin Tale 3D, the action flick Killer Elite, and the sports drama Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.  Hit the jump for the press release from Relativity.

Here’s the press release:

Relativity Acquires Forster’s Machine Gun Preacher

Studio to Release Biopic Starring Butler This Fall

(Beverly Hills, CA) July 7, 2011 – Relativity Media announced today that it has acquired North American rights from Lionsgate to theatrically market and distribute Machine Gun Preacher. Directed and produced by DGA and Golden Globe®-nominee Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball) and written by Jason Keller (Relativity’s Untitled Snow White Project), the film stars Gerard Butler (300) in a tour de force performance and will release in Los Angeles and New York on September 23, 2011.  The film will expand markets in the weeks to follow.  Lionsgate will continue to oversee international distribution on the film, working in partnership with Relativity.

The film also showcases powerful performances by an ensemble cast, including Michelle Monaghan (Due Date), Kathy Baker (Cold Mountain), Oscar®-nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road), Madeline Carroll (The Spy Next Door) and breakout actor Souleymane Sy Savane (Goodbye Solo).

Machine Gun Preacher is based on the true story of Sam Childers (pictured above), a former drug-dealing criminal who finds faith leading him on a path to East Africa.  Shocked by the mayhem in Sudan, Childers becomes a crusader for hundreds of refugee children. Inspired to create a safe haven for the multitudes fleeing enslavement by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army, he restores peace to their lives and eventually his own.

Producing are Relativity’s Robbie Brenner, Safady Entertainment’s Gary Safady and Craig Chapman, and GG Filmz’s Deborah Giarratana.

“This is a powerful story, and we feel strongly that it is one audiences need to see. Forster once again proves that he is among the best directors of our time and Butler delivers a career-defining performance bolstered by a rock solid supporting cast,” says Relativity’s President of Worldwide Production, Tucker Tooley.

“The film is blessed to have two passionate partners in Relativity and Lionsgate. I’m excited to be working with both companies to bring the incredible story of Sam Childers to the world. I’m really proud of my cast, and all of their hard work in making this movie that means so much to all of us personally,” said Forster.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Marc, and given that together we felt it was best for the film to be released domestically this year, we are very happy that Relativity is able to handle it,” says Mike Paseornek, Lionsgate’s President of Motion Picture Production and Development.

Looking ahead, Relativity will release David Ellis’ Shark Night 3D on September 2, 2011 and then the highly-anticipated Immortals on November 11, 2011, starring Henry Cavill, Stephen Dorff, Isabel Lucas, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans and Kellan Lutz with John Hurt and Mickey Rourke. The studio is in production on its Untitled Snow White Project (in theatres March 16, 2012), starring Lily Collins as Snow White, Oscar®-winner Julia Roberts as the evil Queen, Armie Hammer as Prince Andrew Alcott, and Nathan Lane as the hapless and bungling servant to the Queen. Relativity’s expansive 2012 slate also includes Haywire (in theatres January 20, 2012), Act of Valor (in theatres February 17, 2012), Untitled Raven Project (in theatres March 9, 2012), Untitled Farrelly/Wessler Project (in theatres April 13, 2012), House at the End of the Street (in theatres April 20, 2012), Safe Haven (in theatres June 1, 2012) and Hunter Killer (in theatres December 21, 2012).

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