Acquisition News: Sony Pictures Classics Gets SMASHED; Magnolia to Distribute Kevin Macdonald’s Bob Marley Documentary, MARLEY

by     Posted 2 years, 261 days ago

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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.

Sundance 2012: Fox Searchlight Picks Up THE SURROGATE; Sony Pictures Classics Acquires CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER

by     Posted 2 years, 274 days ago

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.

Sony Pictures Classics and Woody Allen Reunite for Summer 2012 Release NERO FIDDLED

by     Posted 2 years, 308 days ago

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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.

Sony Pictures Classics Comes Down with HYSTERIA Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal

by     Posted 2 years, 349 days ago

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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 Picks up Jonathan Demme’s Documentary NEIL YOUNG JOURNEYS

by     Posted 3 years, 14 days ago

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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.

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires David Cronenberg’s A DANGEROUS METHOD

by     Posted 3 years, 131 days ago

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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.

Berlin Winners NADER AND SIMIN, A SEPARATION and IN HEAVEN UNDERGROUND Land Distribution

by     Posted 3 years, 175 days ago

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Two of the 2011 Berlin Film Festival award winners landed North American distribution today. Sony Pictures Classics picked up Nader and Simin, A Separation, which won the festival’s highest honor, the Golden Bear.  Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi (About Elly), the Iranian drama centers on Simin’s effort to divorce her husband.  For what it’s worth, Nader and Simin ranks 210 on the IMDB Top 250 as of this writing.

In nonfiction, THR reports 7th Art Releasing has acquired the North American rights to the documentary In Heaven, Underground: The Jewish Cemetery in Berlin-Weissensee, which won the Panorama Audience Award following its world premiere at the Berlin Fest.  Directed by Britta Wauer, In Heaven observes the cultural importance of the oldest Jewish cemetery still in use in Europe.  Hit the jump for more on both films.

Release Dates for Pedro Almodovar’s THE SKIN I LIVE IN and TAKE SHELTER Starring Michael Shannon

by     Posted 3 years, 180 days ago

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The release dates for a couple of Sony Pictures Classics flicks are now known. Director Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In is set to be released in the US in November, with a UK release date of August 26th. The film, an adaptation of Thierry Jonquet’s novel Tarantula, stars Antonio Banderas as a plastic surgeron out for revenge on the man who raped his daughter.

Additionally, Jeff Nichols’ Sundance hit Take Shelter is slated for an October 7th release. Starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, the thriller tells the story of a husband and father trying to figure out if his dreams of an apocalyptic storm are a sign of things to come or a result of his own mental illness. Hit the jump to read the official synopsis for both films.

Sony Pictures Classics to Release Gus Van Sant’s RESTLESS Starring Mia Wasikowska

by     Posted 3 years, 208 days ago

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In November of last year, we reported that Sony had moved Oscar-nominated director Gus Van Sant’s (Milk) drama Restless from its January 28th release date to an unspecified date later in 2011. While the film, starring Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper, is still without a solid release date (sometime around the fall 2011 festival season might make sense), a press release from Sony earlier today confirms that it has been shifted to the studio’s Sony Pictures Classics division who will handle its domestic distribution.

As a reminder, Restless tells the story of a terminally ill girl (Wasikowska) who befriends a gentleman who attends funerals for the heck of it (Hopper) and their ensuing friendship. You can check out a trailer for the film by clicking here. Hit the jump to check out the full press release.

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Whit Stillman’s VIOLET WISTER’S DAMSELS IN DISTRESS

by     Posted 3 years, 210 days ago

Sony Pictures Classics has picked up the worldwide distribution rights to Whit Stillman’s new film Violet Wister’s Damsels in Distress.  Formerly titled just “Damsels in Distress“, the movie is first Stillman’s first picture since 1998′s The Last Days of Disco.  The comedy stars Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, and Analeigh Tipton and centers on a group of young women who set out to revolutionize life at a grungy East Coast university.  I know fans of Stillman can’t wait to see the flick so hopefully SPC will announce a release date soon.

Hit the jump for the full press release.

Sony Pictures Classics Picks up Michael Rapaport’s Documentary BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST

by     Posted 3 years, 229 days ago

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One of the films I wish I got a chance to see at Sundance this year was Michael Rapaport’s documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.  I’m not as familiar with A Tribe Called Quest as I want to be and I only heard positive things about the documentary from those who saw it.

Now it looks like I’ll have a chance to see it thanks to the folks at Sony Pictures Classics who have acquired the North American distribution rights to the flick, which documents the behind-the-scenes world of the influential alternative rap group.  Hit the jump for the full press release.

Sony Pictures Classics to Distribute Vera Farmiga’s HIGHER GROUND

by     Posted 3 years, 253 days ago

Sony Pictures Classics have acquired the North American distribution rights to Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut, Higher GroundI caught the film at Sundance and while it left me cold, I should note that some of my fellow critics absolutely adored the flick.  The film centers on Corinne (Farmiga), a devoutly-Christian woman who slowly begins to question her faith and the male-dominated power structure of her church.  It has some funny moments, but it rarely seems to be mocking faith, and I applaud it for that.

Hit the jump for the full press release.

Sundance 2011: Acquisitions for THE DETAILS, I MELT WITH YOU, PERFECT SENSE, ANOTHER EARTH and THE GUARD

by     Posted 3 years, 272 days ago

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Quite a few more acquisitions to report from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival today. Two star-studded films found distributors at the festival, with The Weinstein Company picking up worldwide rights to the dark comedy The Details starring Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Banks, and Magnolia Pictures grabbing the US rights to the polarizingly dark drama I Melt With You starring Rob Lowe, Thomas Jane and Jeremy Piven. IFC Films acquired North American rights to the Ewan McGregor and Eva Green romantic thriller Perfect Sense, Sony Pictures Classics acquired the action comedy The Guard starring Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson, and Fox Searchlight snatched up the sci-fi drama Another Earth starring William Mapother and Brit Marling. Magnolia SVP Tom Quinn had this to say about acquiring I Melt With You:

“Mark Pellington has made a maverick, stylish and powerful film that resonates for days after viewing. Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe, Jeremy Piven and Christian McKay give some of the best performances of their entire careers and attention must be paid.”

Hit the jump to read the full press releases of all of the aforementioned films. Be sure to check out all of our Sundance coverage (including interviews, reviews and acquisitions) here.

More TIFF Pick-Ups Including RABBIT HOLE, THE SKIN THAT I INHABIT, and UNAUHTORIZED: THE HARVEY WEINSTEIN PROJECT

by     Posted 4 years, 39 days ago

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Yesterday, we reported on the acquisitions of Beautiful Boy, The Conspirator, Submarine, and Insidious at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.  Today, we have three more purchases to report.  First up, The Wrap is reporting that Lionsgate has picked up the drama Rabbit Hole, which stars Nicole Kidman as a mother grieving over the loss of her child.  The studio plans to release it before the end of the year as Kidman is receiving heavy awards buzz for her performance.  Next, there’s Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin That I Inhabit, which hasn’t started filming yet, but Sony Pictures Classics now owns the North American distribution rights.  The film stars Antonio Banderas as a father avenging the death of his daughter.  Finally, IFC Films has purchased Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project.  The documentary is billed as a “powerful, uncensored, no-holds-barred account” biopic of the Hollywood mogul.  Hit the jump for more on each film.

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Sylvain Chomet’s THE ILLUSIONIST, His Animated Follow-Up to TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE

by     Posted 4 years, 182 days ago

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In what seems like a match made in heaven, Sylvain Chomet–the writer/director of the whimsically Oscar-nominated The Triplets of Belleville–teamed up with the timeless French funnyman and filmmaker Jacques Tati for the new animated feature The Illusionist.  (Given that Tati died in 1982, said match was in all likelihood negotiated within the pearly gates).  Sony Picture Classics bore witness to the magic of Illusionist after its Berlin Film Festival world premiere and acquired the North American distribution rights, targeting an end of the year release: your move, Oscar.

In The Illusionist, Chomet brings Tati back to life in animated form through an unproduced Tati screenplay, which tells the tale of “details the story of a dying breed of stage entertainer whose thunder is being stolen by emerging rock stars.”  You’ll find the full press release after the jump.

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