Anchor Bay has taken U.S. and Canadian rights to Kite, the live-action adaptation of Yasuomi Umetsu’s cult Japanese anime about a schoolgirl assassin hunting down the human traffickers she believes are responsible for her parents’ death. India Eisley (Underworld: Awakening) stars as the young and lethal Sawa opposite Samuel L. Jackson as Inspector Karl Aker, a renegade cop and the ex-partner of Sawa’s father, who firmly believes to succeed he has to take the law into his own hands. Callan McAuliffe (Underworld, I am Number Four) co-stars as Oburi. South African director Ralph Ziman took over the helm from the late David R. Ellis last year and scripted the picture himself.
Related: Cannes: Weinstein Co. Flies With ‘Kite’
The original anime was known for its extreme violence, nudity, and sexuality, including controversial scenes of rape that got Umetsu’s Kite banned in some countries. The live-action Kite is produced by Anant Singh and Distant Horizon’s Brian Cox. Moises Cosio and Alberto Muffelmann of Detalle are exec producers. Anchor Bay’s deal covers theatrical, home entertainment, digital and VOD rights while Weinstein Co. took international last year out of Cannes. Singh negotiated the deal with Alan Grodin of Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin for Distant Horizon.
Here’s a Kite trailer with an intro by Jackson that hit the web in January: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: WWE Studios and Anchor Bay Films has acquired distribution rights in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia/New Zealand to Road To Paloma, the directorial debut of Jason Momoa. Momoa played the title role in Conan The Barbarian, and was last seen playing Khal Drogo in HBO’s Game Of Thrones. Road To Paloma will be released in the U.S. later this year. It was financed and produced by Boss-Media’s Eric Gores and Frank Mancuso Jr., who are exec producers. Pic is produced by Momoa and Brian Andrew Mendoza’s Pride of Gypsies with Jamey Pryde serving as executive producer. Robert Homer Mollohan co-wrote the film with Jonathan Hirschbein and Momoa.
In Road To Paloma, Momoa stars as Robert Wolf, a Native American, who is being hotly pursued by the FBI for taking the law into his own hands after thugs rape and kill his mother on their reservation. Wolf crosses paths with Cash (Mollohan), a down and out musician, and an unlikely bond is formed as they motorcycle across the vast highways of the American West in search of redemption.
Momoa is currently starring in The Red Road, a scripted series for The Sundance Channel. He seems like a pretty decent guy; when I interviewed Game Of Thrones exec producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, they said that while they have become accustomed to routinely killing their cast, the guy that was hardest was Drogo, because … Read More »
Anchor Bay acquired the Billy Bob Thornton-directed Jayne Mansfield’s Car during last year’s Toronto Film Festival, where it had its North American premiere. Thornton stars with Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Katherine LaNasa, Ray Stevenson, and Robert Patrick. Thornton co-wrote it with Tom Epperson. Here’s the first trailer for the ensemble drama, which traces two sides of a 1960s family — one from the Old South, one from the UK — brought together by the death of their matriarch. It will be released on-demand August 20 and hit theaters September 13.
Anchor Bay Films has acquired U.S., Australia and New Zealand rights to the sci-fi action film Battle Of The Damned from Bleiberg Entertainment’s Compound B. The Expendables‘ Dolph Lundgren stars with David Field (The Rover), Matt Doran and newcomer Melanie Zanetti. Anchor Bay Entertainment’s president Bill Clark and acquisitions EVP Kevin Kasha made the deal. “There truly is no other film like this on the market, it’s got zombies and robots and spectacle. The visual effects are fantastic and this is one of the best roles Dolph has ever had.” Read More »
The Ryuhei Kitamura-directed thriller stars Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, Lee Tergesen, and WWE’s Brodus Clay and centers on a ruthless criminal gang that takes a young couple hostage and goes to ground in an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. When the girl is killed, the tables are turned, and the gang finds itself outsmarted by an urbane and seasoned killer who wants them all dead. Anchor Bay picked up No One Lives at last year’s AFM from Pathe, which produced with WWE Studios. David Lawrence Cohen wrote the script. It will open in select cities including NY, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Miami, Boston, Detroit, Houston and Baltimore.
AMC‘s Walking Dead partnership with Anchor Bay was such a success that the companies are teaming up for more TV-on-DVD distribution. Anchor Bay will handle North American DVD, Blu-ray, and certain digital releases of future original programming from AMC, IFC, and The Sundance Channel starting with The Sundance Channel’s scripted series Rectify, created by Oscar-winning actor Ray McKinnon and produced by Breaking Bad‘s Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein, about an ex-con (Aden Young) readjusting to life on the outside. Rectify debuts April 22 on The Sundance Channel and runs for six one-hour episodes.
Anchor Bay will also handle home entertainment distribution of AMC Studios and Endemol Studios’ forthcoming Detroit-set cop drama Low Winter Sun, starring Mark Strong. Based on the 2006 British mini-series of the same name, Low Winter Sun is written by Simon Donald (The Deep) and produced by Tiger Aspect Productions. The first season runs for ten one-hour episodes.
EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay Films is ready to keep rumbling with pro wrestler-turned-action star Steve “Stone Cold” Austin. The distributor has pacted in Berlin with Austin’s Broken Skull Ranch Productions and Bleiberg Entertainment, inking English-speaking territory rights to a pair of upcoming actioners starring the Expendables actor. First up is the evocatively-named Kill Em All, John, starring Austin as an ex-hitman pulled back into the underworld to “retire” a number of crime bosses as the clock ticks. Filming is set to begin this summer. Stunt veteran turned action director Jesse V. Johnson (who directed Austin and Dolph Lundgren in this month’s The Package) will direct from a script by Umair Aleem with Adam Marshall executive producing. Read More »
Anchor Bay announced today that it is upping Julie Cartwright to executive vice president worldwide marketing effectively immediately. The former Senior VP will oversee the marketing for all of Anchor Bay’s releases from the distributor’s film division and STARZ Original series as well from The Weinstein Company, RADiUS Films and international programming sourced from the company’s Canadian, Australian and UK divisions. “Julie has both an incredible creative prowess and a keen understanding of the home entertainment category with its evolving physical and digital models,” said Anchor Bay Entertainment president Bill Clark in a statement. “She has been a key member of the ABE senior management team, delivering significant positive impact as an executive. We’re fortunate to be partnering with her and have on the team.” Cartwright started at the company in 1999. She left to work with HIT Entertainment before returning to Anchor Bay in 2003.
EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay Films acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to Leland Orser’s directorial debut Morning. Pic’s not playing Sundance, but the deal just closed here. The film, which stars Big Love‘s Jeanne Tripplehorn, Laura Linney, Elliott Gould Orser, follows the life of an American couple immediately following the accidental death of their child. Morning was first seen at SXSW, when it was done as a short film. Orser expanded the story into a feature film and developed additional perspectives.
Morning follows the divergent paths of Mark and Alice Munroe as they circle each other in heart-breaking grief before finally coming to grips with their shared loss. Kyle Chandler, Jason Ritter, Charlie McDermott and Julie White. Morning was produced by Todd Traina through his Red Rover Films shingle and Orser wrote the screenplay.
Said Orser: “I think that what we are experiencing right now in mainstream cinema is a renaissance of the independent film drama. Good stories. Important themes. Center stage. This is a time for films that challenge us to think and to question and to feel deeply. Morning is a love story, in the truest sense of the word, that asks us to do all of those things. Todd and I are both thrilled that it has found a home at Anchor Bay with Kevin and his team who care as passionately as we do about film … Read More »
Radius-TWC is the multiplatform division of The Weinstein Company launched a year ago. It has partnered with Starz’s home entertainment division Anchor Bay, which will distribute Radius-TWC’s titles on DVD and Blu-ray including Butter, Bachelorette, Pusher, The Details, Dragon and Lay The Favorite. The multiyear deal covers U.S. rights and will kick off with Butter, the Jennifer Garner-starring indie directed by Jim Field Smith, which hits shelves this week. Anchor Bay already distributes Weinstein Co movies as part of a January 2011 deal in which TWC acquired a 25% stake in Starz Media, where Anchor Bay is housed.
EXCLUSIVE: Rob Zombie’s The Lords Of Salem was one of the splashier deals at the recent Toronto Film Festival, where Anchor Bay acquired distribution for around $2 million after the film played a raucous Midnight Madness premiere. Now, Zombie has made a teaser for the film that will be released next spring. While Zombie is a rock icon, he’s chosen an operatic style of music to accompany the imagery for a film that stars Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Ken Foree, Patricia Quinn, Dee Wallace and Judy Geeson. Moon Zombie plays a radio DJ in Salem whose playing of a sinister tune awakens a coven of nasty 17th century witches.
EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: Anchor Bay has a deal in place for the Rob Zombie-directed The Lords Of Salem, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival Monday evening in the Midnight Madness program. I’m hearing the deal is in the $1.5 million minimum guarantee range after that distributor had gone up against Image and Millennium Entertainment for the fright film and I’m hearing that the deal fell into place shortly after the premiere screening.
That deal was made with the provision that if a studio came along with a pre-negotiated bigger offer at a higher price point, the film’s brokers could take it. It’s believed Open Road and Lionsgate are possibles here, and the witching hour on that alternative scenario is Friday. Either way it’s a healthy deal for a scary film that played through the roof in its midnight debut before a Zombie-centric packed house. The deal is being brokered by Submarine’s Josh Braun, with the producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones. I’ll let you know the final outcome of all this when it is decided.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, SEPTEMBER 10, 5:59 PM EDT: Going into tonight’s Midnight Madness premiere of the Rob Zombie-directed The Lords Of Salem, there are three pre-emptive bids on the table. I’m hearing Anchor Bay is in the lead for the genre pic, but that Image and Bill Lee’s Millennium are also in the running. No deal will be made until after tonight’s screening, so a lot of distributors will be staying up late here in Toronto. The pic, scripted by Zombie, combines his backgrounds in music and fright fare. A Salem hard-rock radio DJ’s playing of a sinister heavy metal tune awakens a coven of nasty 17th century witches. Read More »
BREAKING: Anchor Bay Films has acquired North American and UK rights to Jayne Mansfield’s Car, the Billy Bob Thornton-directed film which which makes its North American premiere on September 13th here at Toronto. Thornton stars with Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Katherine LaNasa, Ray Stevenson, and Robert Patrick. Thornton co-wrote it with Tom Epperson. Alexander Rodnyansky produced with Geyer Kosinski.
An ensemble drama about families and the effects of combat on the complicated relationships between fathers and sons, Jayne Mansfield’s Car looks at two colorful clans in 1969. Brought together by the death of a woman who was married, first to the Alabaman Jim Caldwell (Duvall) and then to the British Kingsley Bedford (Hurt), her families meet for the first time at the Caldwells’ home with uneasy curiosity. The result is a culture clash of the Sixties, and of the Old World versus the Old South.
Related: Billy Bob Thornton Sets Cast, Funding For First Directing Effort In Decade
“The movie reflects some of my own experiences, but its ideas seem universal to me,” Thornton said in a statement. “It examines our fascination with and fear of both life and death, how war is viewed by different generations, and how its effects manifest themselves in families who experience it. It takes place at the height of the Love Generation and the Vietnam War – … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay Films has acquired English speaking terrritorial rights to The Demented, and has added the thriller to its 2013 slate. Produced by Zero Gravity Management and ChickFlicks, The Demented is another zombie-fest, populated by young genre fixtures that include I Spit On Your Grave‘s Sarah Butler, Michael Welch (Twilight Saga), Kayla Ewell (Vampire Diaries), Brittney Alger (21 Jump Street) and Richard Kohnke (Mighty Fine). Filming just wrapped in Louisiana and Anchor Bay president Bill Clark made the deal.
It’s described as “an original zombie movie that we know horror audiences will love,” said Anchor Bay Acquisitions and Co-productions exec veep Kevin Kasha. “Audiences can’t seem to get enough zombies lately and we’re happy to give them fresh meat for their addiction. I’m so excited to be working with Sara Risher again. Sara was involved in all of the original Nightmare On Elm Street films while we were at New Line and she did an amazing job. The Demented gives us an opportunity to be on the same team again”.
The logline: Six college friends meet up for a carefree weekend that turns deadly. A terrorist attack in a nearby town infects much of the townspeople with a deadly virus that induces rabies-like symptoms, only far more severe. Several of those infected (the title characters) attack the estate where the friends have been vacationing. Can they survive? Where will they hide? Is anyone left? Will we … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The one-year pact between indie production and distribution studio The Asylum and Starz/Anchor Bay Entertainment UK covers a guaranteed 10 titles for release in the UK across multiple platforms. Burbank-based The Asylum is known for so-called “mockbusters” with recent titles like Paranormal Entity; Titanic II and Grimm’s Snow White. The company produces 15-20 such films a year for TV, DVD and VOD. Upcoming projects include American Battleship and Bigfoot, which will premiere on Syfy in the US, Adopting Terror to air on Lifetime in June and theatrical/VOD pictures Nazis At The Center Of The Earth and Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies. “The Asylum are one of the most creative, exciting and dynamic production companies operating in the film industry today,” says Anchor Bay UK acquisitions director Rod Smith. “They don’t just tap in to the social zeitgeist, they drill into it and mine it for all its riches and make some of most entertaining and talked about films around. Love them or loathe them but you can’t ignore them.” The Asylum will start production in July on its latest timely mockbuster, Age Of The Hobbits.