Filmmaker David Cronenberg’s latest effort will find its way to U.S. screens early next year. Ahead of the film’s North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, Focus World announced today that it has acquired U.S. distribution for Maps to the Stars with plans to release the film stateside in early 2015. The film follows an archetypical Hollywood dynasty including a writer of self-help manuals (John Cusack), his wife (Olivia Williams) who manages the career of their 13-year-old son, and their daughter (Mia Wasikowska), who was recently released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania. The plot also includes Havana (Julianne Moore), an actress who wants to remake a movie that starred her now-deceased mother. The pic premiered earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, and while the overall reaction was mixed, Moore drew high praise for her performance and won the Best Actress award.
Many had pegged Moore as a contender in this year’s Oscar race, but if Focus World doesn’t stage a limited release in December to qualify for contention, that takes her out of the running. That said, Focus World’s specific release strategy is unknown at the moment. Read the full press release after the jump.
LOS ANGELES September 1, 2014 – Focus World, the alternative distribution initiative owned and operated by Focus Features, has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Maps to the Stars, directed by David Cronenberg from a provocative original screenplay by Bruce Wagner. The contemporary tale exploring the demons of celebrity obsession in our society stars four-time Academy Award® nominee Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Evan Bird, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack, and Robert Pattinson.
Co-financed by Entertainment One (eOne) and Prospero Pictures, Maps to the Stars was produced by Prospero’s Martin Katz, SBS Productions’ Saïd Ben Saïd and Michel Merkt. Sentient Entertainment’s Renee Tab and eOne’s Benedict Carver executive-produced the film. Focus World plans to release the movie, for which Ms. Moore was named Best Actress at the Cannes International Film Festival, in early 2015. Maps to the Stars will screen this month at the Toronto International and New York Film Festivals.
Anjay Nagpal, SVP of Focus World, said, “David Cronenberg is one of independent cinema’s greatest auteurs. He and Bruce Wagner have crafted an unforgettable film showcasing standout performances from a top-notch cast. Focus World is thrilled to bring Maps to the Stars to U.S. audiences.”
Harold van Lier, President, eOne Films International, said, “We are delighted to partner with Focus World on Maps to the Stars, whose release model lends itself so perfectly to bringing this incredibly entertaining film to US audiences. The response received in Cannes, including Julianne Moore’s much-deserved prize, was phenomenal and David’s masterpiece is now eagerly anticipated for Toronto and New York.”
Martin Katz, President, Prospero Pictures, said, “We are extremely gratified by the passion, enthusiasm and expertise with which Focus World has embraced Maps to the Stars.”
In Maps to the Stars, Stafford Weiss (played by Mr. Cusack) is an L.A. psychotherapist and life coach who has made his fortune with self-help books promising happiness. His wife Cristina (Ms. Williams) is the overbearing manager of their 13-year-old son, Benjie (Mr. Bird), a TV star and recent drug rehab grad. Their estranged daughter, Agatha (Ms. Wasikowska), has just been released from a psychiatric hospital and befriends limo driver and aspiring actor Jerome (Mr. Pattinson). Among Stafford’s celebrity clients is Havana Segrand (Ms. Moore), a fading star who dreams of reprising her late mother Clarice’s (Ms. Gadon) starring role. Ambitions, ghosts, death, and all manner of vices bedevil the cast of characters.
eOne Films International handles worldwide rights to Maps to the Stars, and will directly distribute the film in Canada, the U.K., and Australia and New Zealand.
WME negotiated on behalf of eOne with Mr. Nagpal and Gene Kang, VP of Business Affairs, representing Focus World.