We have a couple of acquisitions to recognize this afternoon. Firstly, Magnolia Pictures has acquired US theatrical, VOD, and home entertainment rights to director Steve James’ (Hoop Dreams) documentary about the life of Roger Ebert, Life Itself. I caught the film at Sundance and it’s a loving, funny, and moving tribute to the late film critic and his impact on the world of cinema. Magnolia is eyeing a summer release, followed by an exclusive broadcast on CNN later this year. Read my full review here.
Additionally, eOne has acquired US rights to director Don McKellar’s comedy The Grand Seduction, which stars Brendan Gleeson and Taylor Kitsch as two unemployed fisherman tasked with convincing a doctor to set up shop in their tiny outport so that they can court a new Petrochemical plant to open and revitalize the area. eOne is planning a theatrical release this summer. Hit the jump to read the full press release concerning Life Itself.
Richard Ayoade’s The Double is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Jesse Eisenberg stars as a beleaguered office drone whose life is made even worse when he meets a man who shares his appearance but has the exact opposite personality. The film is darkly comic, beautifully shot, quite witty, and captivating from start to finish. I was a little surprised the movie wasn’t acquired straight out of the Toronto International Film Festival, but thankfully it has now found distribution. Magnolia Pictures has announced they’ve picked up the U.S. rights, and are looking to release the film in 2014. Be sure to keep this flick on your radar.
Hit the jump for the press release. The Double also stars Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor, James Fox, Cathy Moriarty, Chris O’Dowd, Sally Hawkins, Craig Roberts, and Paddy Considine.
Magnolia Pictures has acquired the North American distribution rights for the BBC Films/Studio Canal comedy Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, ensuring that the pic will get a theatrical release here in the U.S. For those unaware, the film is a feature adaptation of the popular BBC TV series and radio character Alan Partridge, portrayed by Steve Coogan. Patridge is a bit of a parody of sports commentators and talk show hosts, as the character is himself a radio host and television presenter for I’m Alan Partridge.
Magnolia is eyeing an early 2014 release for the film here in the States, where it will simply be titled Alan Partridge. The pic hit U.K. theaters on August 7th, where it has been enjoying a rather successful theatrical run for the past couple of weeks. Hit the jump to read the full press release, and click here to watch the trailer.
Magnolia has picked up the reverse rom-com I Give It a Year. The film stars Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne as a married couple who grow to realize that they’re not right for each other, and start being drawn to other people (Anna Faris and Simon Baker, respectively). I caught the film at SXSW, and found it to be surprising funny and charming even though it deals with a relationship that’s falling apart. The movie will be released via Magnolia’s “Ultra VOD” program, which means it will debut on VOD and then the VOD cost will be slightly reduced when the picture hits limited theatrical release. VOD is probably the best distribution method for the film since it’s a little too slight and lacks the star power to be a serious wide release.
Hit the jump for the press release. I Give It a Year is due out later this year and also stars Stephen Merchant, Olivia Colman, Jason Flemyng, and Minnie Driver.
A new image has been released for Lars Von Trier’s upcoming two-part drama, Nymphomaniac. Charlotte Gainsbourg stars as Joe, a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who recounts her life story to Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard), an old, charming bachelor who finds Jo beaten up in an alley. Joe then recounts to him the story of her erotic life, from birth to the age of fifty. The film will be released in hard-core and soft-core versions, and Magnolia has announced that they’ll be distributing the film in the U.S. However, we don’t know if they’ll be distribution both versions, and how those versions will be distributed. The standard release plan for Magnolia has become VOD before theatrical, and it looks like Nymphomaniac won’t be playing at Cannes because it missed the submission deadline rather than Von Trier being declared Persona Non Grata after his comments at the festival in 2011 when he was doing press for Melancholia.
Hit the jump for more including the new image. Nymphomaniac also stars Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell, Connie Nielsen, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Jean-Marc Barr, and Udo Kier.
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.
We’ve recently seen a number of interesting photos from the set of two new films that director Terrence Malick has been shooting this year, but we now have word on when we might get to see the filmmaker’s follow-up to 2011’s The Tree of Life. Malick notoriously takes his time in the post-production process, and his most recent film To the Wonder (which was shot in 2010) finally premiered this past fall at the Venice and Toronto film festivals. The story revolves around a European woman (Olga Kurylenko) and her tumultuous relationship with an Oklahoman man (Ben Affleck), and following a mixed-to-negative response, Magnolia acquired the pic for distribution.
Now The Film Stage reports that Magnolia is eyeing an April 2013 release for the pic, following its February 22nd UK release. Despite the mixed reactions (read Matt’s review right here), I’m eager to see the latest work from the reclusive auteur.
After watching Terrence Malick‘s twirling train wreck of a picture, To the Wonder, I was left wondering what distributor would pick it up. The movie lacked the awards power of Malick’s previous efforts, and his movies aren’t easy sells to begin with. Today, Deadline reports that Magnolia is up for the challenge, and will distribute the film for a multi-platform release in 2013. Most, if not all, Magnolia films hit VOD before getting a theatrical release, but Deadline says To the Wonder will be released first in theaters. The movie will probably draw in the Malick die-hards since all of the imagery and tone is unmistakably the auteur’s work. The trailer probably won’t convey how the movie is an utter chore, and even though it’s Malick’s second-shortest movie, it feels like his longest.
For those unfamiliar with the plot, it revolves around a European woman (Olga Kurylenko) and her tumultuous relationship with an Oklahoman man (Ben Affleck). Occasionally, a priest (Javier Bardem) has scenes where he talks about how unhappy he is. Godspeed, Magnolia.
Magnolia Pictures has acquired US rights to Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, and has released the first trailer for the film. The pic is actually a candid, in-depth interview with Jobs that took place in 1995 and was thought lost for the past 17 years. It finds Jobs at a crossroads and provides a fascinating look at the visionary two years before he would re-take control of Apple. Magnolia is presenting the interview in its unedited entirety, and this trailer provides a peek at some of the absorbing insights that are sure to be gleaned from the film.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer, followed by the full press release. Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview will open in select theaters on May 11th, with a DVD and VOD release to follow later this summer.
In recent horror movie news, no project has been marketed quite so vividly as The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence). Love it or hate it, it was IFC Midnight that brought the film to the public. Now they’ve picked up ATM, a thriller by director David Brooks. The picture, starring Alice Eve (She’s Out of My League), Josh Peck (The Wackness) and Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker) centers on three coworkers fighting against a man who has trapped them at an ATM for unknown reasons.
In a less twisted bit of rights acquisition news, Magnolia Pictures has acquired US rights to Roadie, a film by director Michael Cuesta (Dexter). The pic stars Ron Eldard (Black Hawk Down) as Jimmy, a roadie for Blue Oyster Cult who gets fired after two decades of touring. He then returns to his hometown to find that not much has changed. Hit the jump for more on both projects.
It’s a sad truth that you can’t see everything you want at a major film festival and I was bummed that I missed Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz when I was at TIFF. However, I rested easy in the knowledge that movie starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen would probably find distribution and now it has. Magnolia has sent out a press release announcing their acquisition of the relationship drama and plan to run it through the festival circuit before releasing it into theaters in early summer 2012.
For those unfamiliar with the film, Williams plays a woman who’s married to a good-natured cookbook author (Rogen) but then she finds herself attracted to a handsome artist (Luke Kirby). I really enjoyed Polley’s previous flim, Away from Her, and I’m glad I’ll be seeing Take This Waltz in the not-too-distant future. Hit the jump for the full press release.
Director Fernando Meirelles has yet to match his 2002 breakthrough film City of God, but he’s cranked out some quality films since with The Constant Gardener and Blindness. While I found his latest film, 360, to be incredibly disappointing, Meirelles is already looking to his next film: a biopic of Aristotle Onassis, the controversial shipping magnate who married JFK’s widow Jackie in 1968. As we reported back in April, Meirelles sees the film as “a sort of Godfather, with Onassis at the center.” The film is based on the Peter Evans book Nemesis and Meirelles says he plans to start shooting sometime next year.
Hit the jump for some encouraging words from the Brazilian director on why his next film will be like his breakthrough film as well as details on distribution for 360.
A trailer and poster for director Billy Corben’s (Cocaine Cowboys) documentary Limelight have landed online. The film centers on club owner Peter Gatien and his culturally significant Manhattan nightclub for which the pic is titled. As the story goes, his businesses ruled the NYC club scene of the ’80s, but by the mid-’90s Gatien had become the poster boy for Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s plot to essentially destroy all fun within city limits after dark.
Outside of what I’ve already written, I can’t claim to know any more about Gatien and the history of New York City’s nightlife. That said, the trailer on display here features Moby talking about how much fun he had at the Limelight which makes me think I didn’t miss a whole lot by not being there. Check out the trailer, poster, and an official synopsis for the film after the jump. Magnolia Pictures will release Limelight on September 23rd.
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.
Magnet Releasing, the genre label of Magnolia Pictures, has acquired the North American rights to the Korean horror film Chawz. Directed by Jeong-won Shin, Chawz says “thanks, but no thanks” to your typical movie killers (masked sociopaths, killer sharks, pre-historic piranha, etc.) electing instead to go with a “giant, vicious pig who terrorizes an idyllic countryside.” I was already interested upon learning about Magnet’s involvement as they have released some really great films of late (Timecrimes, Let the Right One In, and The House of the Devil come to mind). That said, when you throw in a hook like “giant, vicious pig” you really leave me with no choice but to see the film.
To check out the full press release from the acquisition, hit the jump. Also, for future reference, remember to implement the “buddy system” when wandering around idyllic countrysides.