Cohen Media Group has acquired North American distribution on The Last Of The Unjust, the documentary that’s playing Toronto and will follow with a New York Film Festival berth. The film is directed by Shoah helmer Claude Lanzmann and will be released theatrically next year after a qualifying run for the Oscars. The film reveals a little-known yet fundamental aspect of the Holocaust, and sheds light on the origins of the “Final Solution.” Lanzmann tells the story of the Theresienstadt concentration camp (located in what is now the Czech Republic), where tens of thousands died and many more were held before being sent to their deaths at Treblinka, Auschwitz and other camps.
The central figure in the film is Benjamin Murmelstein, the last president of the Theresienstadt Jewish Council, a fallen hero condemned to exile. He was forced to negotiate day after day from 1938 until the end of the war with Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, who considered Theresienstadt a “model” camp. The director got the idea after interviewing Lanzmann for the 1985 pic Shoah, but didn’t have room for it in that movie. Here, Murmelstein explains his actions and defines his paradoxical role in history. Read More »
My Old Lady has a new distributor, a new backer and a new cast member. NYC-based Cohen Media Group has picked up all U.S. and Canadian rights to the comedy-drama directed and adapted by Israel Horovitz from his play. CMG EVP Gary Rubin and Cinetic Media’s John Sloss and Steven Farneth negotiated the deal on behalf of the producers. Distributed internationally by Protagonist Pictures, the film now has the unspecified financial backing of BBC Films. Rachael Horovitz and Gary Foster are producing with Nitsa Benchetrit and David Barrot. Co-producing are David Atrakchi, Boris Mendza and Gael Cabouat for Fulldawa Films. Charles Cohen and Daniel Battsek will exec produce for CMG, while BBC Films’ Joe Oppenheimer and Christine Langan will exec produce for BBC Films. Rounding out the My Old Lady news, Kristin Scott Thomas has joined Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, and Dominique Pinon in the movie. Kline plays a down-and-out New Yorker who travels to Paris to liquidate a huge apartment he’s inherited. But when he gets there, he learns he can’t take possession until the old woman who’s living in the apartment dies. Taking up the role that Jane Birkin was originally set in, Scott Thomas will play Chloe, daughter of Smith’s Mathilde character. My Old Lady starts shooting in Paris this month. Scott Thomas is repped by CAA and by Independent Talent Group in the UK.
The gang from L’Auberge Espagnole and Russian Dolls is getting back together for director Cédric Klapisch‘s third film in the series, Chinese Puzzle. New York-based Cohen Media Group has acquired all U.S. rights to the romantic comedy-drama which it will release theatrically in early 2014. Audrey Tautou, Romain Duris, Kelly Reilly, Cécile De France and Kevin Bishop reunite for the New York-set film that sees Duris’ heartsick Xavier head to the Big Apple after the mother of his children moves there with the kids. Klapisch had a hit with 2002′s charming L’Auberge Espagnole which was a breakout role for Reilly and one of Tautou’s first pictures following the global success of Amélie. De France won César awards for L’Auberge and also for the 2005 sequel Russian Dolls. Ce Qui Me Meut’s Bruno Levy produced Chinese Puzzle which is co-produced by Studiocanal, France 2 Cinéma and Belgium’s Panache Productions and La Cie Cinématographique – RTBF. Studiocanal is selling internationally. Cohen Media Group’s John Kochman negotiated the deal with Studiocanal’s Vanessa Saal.
Cohen Media Group acquired U.S. distribution rights to Breathe In, the Drake Doremus-scripted and -directed drama that stars Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones and Amy Ryan. The film was one of a couple Sundance pics about a teacher who enters into an illicit relationship with a student. Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling of Super Crispy Entertainment produced, along with Steven Rales and Mark Roybal of Indian Paintbrush, which also financed the film. QED International remains on board handling international distribution. The film premiered to rave reviews at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. CMG is gearing up for a full theatrical release in fourth-quarter 2013. Read More »
The competition titles here in Berlin have so far failed to make much noise, but things may be picking up. Yesterday, there were cheers for Sebastian Lelio’s Chilean film Gloria, and today comes word that Cohen Media Group has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Emmanuelle Bercot’s competition entry Elle S’En Va (On My Way) ahead of its Friday screening. The comedic drama stars Catherine Deneuve as a former beauty pageant winner who’s now a restaurateur facing a failed relationship and a failing business, until one day she ups and hits the road on an adventure with her ten-year-old grandson. Elle Driver is handling worldwide sales on the picture written by Bercot and Jérôme Tonnerre and produced by Olivier Delbosc and Marc Missonnier. Last year, Cohen Media acquired Elle Driver’s opening night competition film here, Benôit Jacquot’s Farewell, My Queen. The On My Way deal was negotiated by Cohen Media’s Charles S. Cohen and Elle Driver’s Adeline Fontan Tessaur.
Daniel Battsek ran Miramax Films after Harvey and Bob Weinstein split from Disney and most recently was president of National Geographic Films until the LA office was shuttered in December 2011 and he went with it. Now he joins Cohen Media Group and will work with chairman and CEO Charles Cohen, whose company is behind Pablo Berger’s Blancanieves, Spain’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar hopeful. Here’s the release:
New York, NY (December 12, 2012) – Cohen Media Group’s Chairman/CEO Charles S. Cohen announced today that industry veteran Daniel Battsek is joining CMG as President. Mr. Battsek will work alongside Mr. Cohen and help to oversee acquisition, production and distribution of CMG titles, as well as the vast Cohen Film Collection of landmark movies (previously known as The Rohauer Library).
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Frozen River producer Charles S. Cohen has acquired rights to Ben MacIntyre‘s bestseller Double Cross: The True Story Of The D-Day Spies, with plans for his production-distribution company Cohen Media Group to turn it into an international miniseries for cable and broadcast. The final installment of MacIntyre’s World War II trilogy is based on the efforts of five Allied operatives who specialized in turning German spies into double agents. They greatly aided the success of the D-Day assault and eventual Allied victory. The first two books in the trilogy from MacIntyre, an editor at the Times Of London, were Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat; Crown published Double Cross in July. Stephen Dembitzer negotiated the rights deal on behalf of Cohen and CAA’s Robert Bookman on behalf of MacIntyre. Read More »
Liz Mackiewicz will be responsible for marketing and licensing films in the Cohen Film Collection. She’ll report directly to Cohen Media Group Chairman/CEO Charles S. Cohen. “The revival of interest in classic films and the implementation of new film technologies, creates an exciting opportunity for the Cohen Film Collection films to be seen for the first time on Blu-ray DVD and on VOD platforms”, said Mackiewicz. She has held similar positions with Los Angeles based Arclight Films, Media 8 Entertainment and First Look Studios.|
Pablo Berger’s Blancanieves is Spain’s foreign-language Oscar entry, making it two consecutive years in which the Academy may have a chance to honor a silent black-and-white film. The Arcadia Pictures production is a re-telling of Snow White that’s set in 1920s Spain. It recently won the Special Jury Prize in San Sebastian and a best actress nod for Macarena Garcia. Cohen Media Group has shown a predilection for European art house fare and this title adds to its growing silent film collection. The company recently acquired the Rohauer Film Library with works of such pre-talkie talent as D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks and Buster Keaton. The Blancanieves deal was negotiated by CMG’s Gary Rubin and Dreamcatchers co-founder Marina Fuentes.
West Beirut and Lila Says director Ziad Doueiri’s The Attack will have its world premiere in Toronto next month. Cohen Media Group and Focus Features’ alternative distribution arm, Focus World, will jointly handle the film’s North American release in 2013. Cohen will take theatrical, DVD and sales and Focus World will handle all digital media and TV rights. (The film was at one time in development at Focus.) Based on the best-selling book by Yasmina Khadra, the drama focuses on a Palestinian doctor who discovers uncomfortable truths about his wife following a suicide bombing. Doueiri and Joelle Touma wrote the script. Jean Bréhat and Rachid Bouchareb are producers. John Wells also has a producing credit. A 3B production, The Attack is co-produced by Douri Film, UAG, Scope Pictures and Random House Films.
After recently acquiring Berlin Film Festival opener Farewell, My Queen, indie distributor Cohen Media Group has picked up The Other Son (Le Fils De L’Autre) for the US. The EFM title is being handled by Paris-based Cité Films. Directed by Lorraine Levy, the film stars Emmanuelle Devos, Pascal Elbé, Jules Sitruck and Mehdi Dehbi. Written by Natalie Saugeon, Levy and Noam Fitoussi, it tells the story of an Israeli teen who discovers he was switched at birth with the child of a Palestinian family on the West Bank. The lives of the two families are suddenly shattered by the revelation that forces them to reconsider their identities, values and beliefs. Deal was negotiated by Cohen chairman/CEO Charles S. Cohen and Cité managing director Raphael Berdugo.
EXCLUSIVE: Independent distribution outfit Cohen Media Group has acquired Berlin Film Festival opener Farewell, My Queen, for U.S. distribution. The Benoît Jacquot period drama stars Diane Kruger, Léa Seydoux and Virginie Ledoyen and premieres tonight (Thursday) in competition. Story is adapted from the Chantal Thomas novel and set during the first 3 days of the French Revolution as seen from the perspective of Marie Antoinette’s private reader at Versailles. The deal was negotiated by Cohen exec VP Gary Rubin and Adeline Fontan Tessaur of Elle Driver which is handling international sales. This is a particularly poignant Berlinale for the Elle Driver crew which first came to the festival in 2008 and is celebrating its 5th time out with the opening night film. Read More »
Cohen Media Group, the independent distribution company which at Toronto acquired the Luc Besson-directed The Lady, has hired Mike Rudnitsky to run its distribution arm and advise in acquisitions and marketing. Charles S. Cohen made the announcement this morning. Rudnitsky has held similar titles at Alliance Films, The Weinstein Company, MGM and Miramax. He had been a consultant for Cohen Media Group since last summer. The company also hired Carla Ornelas to be vice president of theatrical distribution. She’s worked at Paramount, Miramax and Sony Pictures Classics.
High profile awards contenders had big expansions over the weekend, easily dwarfing the roll outs of lower profile new comers this weekend. Fox Searchlight’s big Oscar hopeful 12 Years A Slave, Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost and Focus Features’ Dallas Buyers Club headed into more theaters and markets with mostly strong results. Searchlight moved 12 Years A Slave into 1,144 theaters, an increase of 734 from the previous week. It grossed $6.6 million in its 4th week of release, averaging $5,769 and placing 7th in the overall box office.
Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost, which had its U.S. debut earlier this month at the New York Film Festival, headed into 401 runs grossing over $1.2 million and averaging $3K. Last week, it grossed nearly $600K in 131 locations. Focus added 26 theaters for Dallas Buyers Club‘s second frame. The film starring Matthew McConaughey held nicely, grossing $629K, averaging almost $18K. Focus noted the film had a 61% increase from Friday to Saturday, which the company touted Sunday morning. “This bump far exceeds the 45% to 50% bump which is the norm for a roll-out,” said a Focus spokesperson. “This big bump on Saturday shows momentum with Saturday’s habitual adult – Boomer, Gen X and sophisticated younger patrons. For the second week in a row, the film over performed on Saturday. Clearly it is connecting with the core adult audience.” Focus added that increases also took place in last week’s theaters as well.
Among newcomers, Sony Classics’ The Armstrong Lie took the weekend’s highest PSA, though from a slight threshold. The Venice and Toronto documentary grossed $30,904, averaging $6,181. This is the second film to head to theaters this year from veteran filmmaker Alex Gibney, whose late May release We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks averaged $6,922 when it bowed in 4 theaters. That film went on to gross over $166K in the U.S. SPC will expand The Armstrong Lie into several additional markets next weekend, while also adding runs in Los Angeles. Read More »
Dallas Buyers Club cinched the top spot in the Specialty Box Office, grossing over $264K, averaging a strong $29K-plus in 9 theaters this weekend. The Toronto debut starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof who took on the medical establishment illegally importing promising drugs from abroad after learning he was HIV-positive.
“The word-of-mouth is stimulating the box office momentum which we see in the big increase from Friday to Saturday,” noted Focus Sunday. “Dallas experienced a strong increase in box office on Saturday with a 71% overall bump from Friday to Saturday. Yesterday’s increase is a strong indication that the film’s popular and box office momentum is working well. Grosses in the U.S. houses are strong with Dallas the #1 ranked film in 4 of the 6 opening houses.” Focus added that “smart-house films” historically increase in the upper 40% range from Friday to Saturday.
The distributor had more flush results from The Place Beyond The Pines earlier this year, grossing over $279 in 4 theaters in April, averaging nearly $70K. Had Dallas only opened in its 6 U.S. theaters, the average would have been $35K. The film also bowed in 3 Canadian locations this weekend. The result is an auspicious send off to the “Specialty” incarnation of Focus lead by James Schamus. Read More »
After the Palme d’Or, public spats and talk about “that scene,” Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color opened with solid numbers this weekend in New York and L.A. The feature grossed just over $101K in 4 theaters, for a $25,279 average – easily the highest of the weekend and one of the year’s highest for a foreign-language film.
Sundance Selects said it was “thrilled” by Blue‘s performance and that the drama about two young women who fall in love appealed across genders this weekend. “From the moment it screened in Cannes to its opening engagements here in the United States the film has received enormous publicity and critical acclaim for the film and for the lead actresses’ performances,” said IFC Films/Sundance Selects’ Mark Boxer Sunday. “Now filmgoers in New York and Los Angeles have had the opportunity to see what generated so much excitement and controversy and the turnout was quite impressive in a very crowded marketplace.”
Related: Palme d’Or Winner Ineligible For Foreign Language Category
Why Wild Bunch Wouldn’t Budge On ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Release For Oscar Eligibility
Blue opened stateside with an NC-17, though NYC’s IFC Center very publicly said it would admit high schoolers to the film. The title also trumped last year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar winner and fellow Palme d’Or winner Amour, which had a $22,755 in 3 locations last December. That film went on to gross over $6.7 million in the U.S. Read More »