Anchor Bay shortly adds to the Stoner movie genre when it releases High School on June 1. The trailer below will be attached to the Universal release American Reunion in about 25 markets this weekend. One part of me eyeballs this and thinks Adrien Brody has certainly veered since his Oscar-winning turn in The Pianist, but the premise does look like a fun Stoner effort and Brody is a convincing crazed weed dealer. While the Harold & Kumar trilogy has been the most popular of recent pot pics, if I had to choose a favorite, the top dog would be Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and I would have to put the unsung but silly 1994 film The Stoned Age in there as a sleeper choice. What’s the best stoner film?
EXCLUSIVE: WWE Studios and Anchor Bay Films have made a deal to co-distribute The Day, a provocative action thriller that premiered in the Midnight Madness section of the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. WWE Studios bought U.S. distribution rights shortly after the film’s first screening. The film stars Shawn Ashmore (X-Men), Dominic Monaghan (The Lord Of The Rings) Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale) and Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism). Read More »
AUSTIN, TX – In one of the first distribution deals at the SXSW Film Festival, Anchor Bay Films today announced the company has acquired the North American rights to Austin Chick’s Girls Against Boys, the controversial thriller that opened the Midnighter’s section this past Friday. The acquisition was announced by Bill Clark, President of Anchor Bay Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Anchor Bay is negotiating a distribution deal on the SXSW Midnight title Girls Against Boys. The controversial thriller stars Nicole LaLiberte and Danielle Panabaker as two bartenders who get revenge against men who abused them. The film was written and directed by Austin Chick and produced by Clay Floren and Aimee Shieh. Paradigm repped the film. Here are several scenes, which I ran Sunday:
EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay Films has acquired Nothing To Fear, the first film produced by Slasher Films, the horror label hatched by former Guns n Roses guitarist Slash and the producing team of Rob Eric and Michael Williams. Nothing To Fear is based on an actual town in Kansas, which, according to legend, is one of the seven gateways to Hell. Anthony Leonardi III is directing. He has been the lead creature artist and storyboard artist for Constantine, Pirates Of The Caribbean 3, Rango and the upcoming 47 Ronin. Slash will be co-producing the score of the movie. Read More »
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Anchor Bay Films has locked in North American rights to the suspense thriller, The Victim, starring Michael Biehn (Terminator, Aliens), Jennifer Blanc (Badass, Dark Angel), Ryan Honey (Men of Honor, Hallowed Ground), Denny Kirkwood (Never Been Kissed), Tanya Newbould (Red Dragon, Rush Hour 2) and Danielle Harris (Halloween series). The deal was made with Preferred Content. The Victim was written by Michael Biehn and is his directorial debut. Bill Clark, President of Anchor Bay Entertainment, made today’s announcement.
“This is a great grindhouse film and audiences won’t be disappointed,” commented Kevin Kasha, Executive Vice President, Acquisitions and Co-Productions for Anchor Bay Films.
“From the first day of shooting, I had hoped that Anchor Bay would be interested in The Victim. I’m very happy they will be working with us to distribute it,” added Michael Biehn. “I loved making such a down and dirty film – true grindhouse.”
Good time girls Annie (Jennifer Blanc) and Mary (Danielle Harris) find themselves in a life and death situation. Annie’s life is put in jeopardy when she is witness to a violent act at the hands of two Sheriff’s Deputies. Fleeing from attackers (Ryan Honey, Denny Kirkwood), she stumbles across Kyle (Michael Biehn), a recluse living in the middle of the woods. The ruggedly handsome loner stays far from civilization – that is –
Anchor Bay has acquired North American distribution rights to Touchback, the Don Handfield-directed gridiron drama that stars Kurt Russell, Brian Presley, Melanie Lynskey, Christine Lahti, Drew Powell, Kevin Covais and Marc Blucas. The plan is to release the film next year. Presley stars as a struggling farmer and former football hero who laments scoring the winning touchdown in the Ohio State High School Championship game years ago, because he injured his knee and was robbed of a pro career. He goes back in time to the week before the game and struggles over whether to call a different play, and whether he should marry his shigh school sweetheart. Handfield wrote the script, and Freedom Films’ Brian Presley, Kevin Matusow and Carissa Buffel produced. Anchor Bay’s Kevin Kasha brokered the deal with Gersh’s Jay Cohen. Hannibal Classics is handling foreign sales.
EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay Films has acquired North American distribution rights to Mother’s Day, the horror film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and starring Rebecca DeMornay, Jaime King, Deborah Ann Woll and Shawn Ashmore. The film’s a loose remake of the Charles Kaufman-directed 1980 Troma film. Brett Ratner produced with Richard Saperstein, Jay Stern, Brian Witten, Jessie Rusu, Curtis Leopardo and Shara Kay. A bank robbery goes wrong and the robbers head for their childhood home, only to discover their mom lost the house to foreclosure. The new owners are having a birthday party, and the brothers take them hostage. When their mother and sister arrive, it becomes clear that the matriarch will do whatever necessary to protect her brood. She is a sadistic and manipulative woman who over the course of the evening takes control of the situation, plots her sons’ escape, all at the expense of the hostages. The film has been in the can for awhile, but a deal with distributor Gigapix that would have put the film into theaters fell through and it hasn’t been released in the US, even though it played in some foreign territories. I’m told they are looking at a potential release for next Mother’s Day, which falls on May 13, 2012.
“With Saw’s Darren Lynn Bousman at the helm and a cast featuring DeMornay, Ashmore and Woll, Mother’s Day has an unbeatable horror pedigree,” said Kevin Kasha, Anchor Bay exec veep of acquisitions … Read More »
Anchor Bay made probably the biggest-ever deal at the South By Southwest Film Festival when it acquired Xavier Gens’ postapocalyptic thriller The Divide this year for the U.S. in a seven-figure deal. Now the distributor said it is releasing the film as a director’s cut on January 13, 2012 — a different cut than the one shown at SXSW. The plan is for a platform rollout in New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Denver, with more markets to be announced. The movie stars Lauren German, Michael Biehn and Milo Ventimiglia in a story about a group of strangers who escape a nuclear attack by hiding out in the basement of their New York high-rise apartment building. Things get more desperate as supplies dwindle and hope fades. “We felt strongly that we needed to bring his full vision to the screen, and confident this is the version audiences will want to see,” said Jennifer Roberts, Anchor Bay Film’s SVP Brand Marketing.
UPDATE, 3 PM: CEO Paul Davis says the Redbox price increase to $1.20 a night followed “several months of testing” and was designed to keep prices “as low as possible for consumers” as operating costs rise. The company says that the “vast majority” of transactions at its kiosks involve debit cards affected by the Durbin Amendment, as opposed to credit cards. Customers will still be able to rent for $1 a night through November if they reserve a DVD online and then pick it up at a kiosk. He added that the company plans to unveil a digital streaming plan by year’s end, calling it “a top priority for the company.” Davis says Redbox has seen business increase from consumers who felt “disenfranchised” by Netflix’s 60% price hike for its combo DVD rental and streaming service, but he can’t say how many people defected.
On the studio side, Davis says Paramount just extended its agreement to provide DVDs to Redbox the same day they’re available in stores through 2014. The studio will receive 100,000 shares of restricted stock in Coinstar, and can collect an additional 100,000 shares if it exercises its two options that each would extend the agreement by a year. Redbox’s day-and-date agreement with Sony runs through September 2012, and one with Lionsgate goes through August 2014. It has similar deals with Summit and Anchor Bay. Read More »
Anchor Bay, the home entertainment division of Starz Media, filed suit today against Bill Yordy’s BF1 Films claiming the Glendale-based company owes it nearly $2M in advances. Anchor Bay claims that BF1 failed to deliver a series of films set up in a 2008 eight-film output deal. The only BF1 film released by Anchor Bay was the animated Velveteen Rabbit, direct to DVD in 2009. Among the BF1 films that Anchor Bay says it hasn’t seen are When Calls The Heart, Preacher’s Daughter, Only the River Runs Free and Warhammer. Anchor Bay also alleges that Yordy and BF1 claimed to have copyrights, insurance and financing on the films when it did not and misrepresented its deal with Anchor Bay in dealings with other companies. BF1′s actions also resulted in the termination of BF1′s licensing agreement with Codex, Anchor Bay claims, delaying the release of Warhammer. The suit, filed in L.A. Superior Court, seeks compensatory damages and legal fees as well.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA — Anchor Bay Films announced today the pick up of the comedy Father of Invention starring Academy Award™ winning actor Kevin Spacey (Horrible Bosses, American Beauty), Camilla Belle (10,000 BC, When a Stranger Calls), Heather Graham (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, The Hangover) and Virginia Madsen (Sideways, The Number 23). The film was co-financed by Sunrise Films, LLC and debuted as an official selection at the Berlin International Film Festival. Anchor Bay Films has acquired all distribution rights in the U.S., U.K. as well as Australia and New Zealand. Bill Clark, President of Anchor Bay Entertainment, made the announcement.
EXCLUSIVE:They saved the best for last on the final movie day of the South By Southwest Festival. In the biggest deal of SXSW this year and possibly ever for the Austin fest, Anchor Bay paid low seven figures for U.S. rights to the Xavier Gens-directed genre thriller The Divide. Multiple territories are still in play. France was acquired by BAC Films, and a deal will be made shortly for Canada, with Anchor Bay a contender for that territory as well. Content Film is handling international.
The Divide made its world premiere Sunday at midnight, and the deal was closed this evening by Kevin Iwashina of Preferred Content, WME Global’s Graham Taylor and Anchor Bay’s Kevin Kasha. The Divide is a post-apocalyptic Lord of the Flies, set in the basement apartment of a New York building. It’s a gritty film but played through the roof at its premiere. Michael Biehn and Milo Ventimiglia star, and Ross Dinerstein and Darryn Welch produced.
WME Global had a strong SXSW, closing three deals in Austin. In the other two deals brokered by the agency, The Weinstein Company paid low seven figures for the high school gridiron documentary Undefeated, buying distribution and remake rights, and a multi-faceted deal was made by WME Global for the Rodman Flender-directed Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop. That documentary is about the concert tour the late-night host undertook … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay has closed a deal to distribute Tanner Hall, a coming-of-age film that premiered at Toronto last fall. The film got a dose of deal momentum after its unknown star, Rooney Mara, landed the coveted role of Lisbeth Salander in the David Fincher-directed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Anchor Bay, which bought domestic, UK, Australia and New Zealand rights, plans to release the film in close proximity to Dragon Tattoo, which gets released December 21 by Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Tanner Hall also stars Tom Everett Scott, Chris Kattan and Amy Sedaris, and marks the directorial debut of Francesca Gregorini and Tatiana von Furstenberg. The film takes place at a boarding school in a New England town where four restless teens come of age. Brie Larsen, Georgia King and Amy Ferguson round out the quartet. The picture was well received at Toronto, and came out of the festival looking like it would get distributed by Moving Pictures Film & Television. By the time Mara got the Salander role that every young actress in Hollywood wanted, Tanner Hall’s distribution situation had become tenuous and MPF&T agreed to step aside. Submarine Entertainment’s Josh Braun and attorney Marc H. Simon made the new deal with Anchor Bay’s Bill Clark, Kevin Kasha, Josh Thomashow and Richard Turner.
Enough is enough is enough. Starz topper Chris Albrecht at first was just going to shut down Overture and its home video arm Anchor Bay. (Founded in November 2006, Overture Films has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Starz LLC, which is a unit of Liberty Media Corp and which Albrecht runs along with the Starz Entertainment premium television business and the Starz Media production and distribution company.) Then he gave Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett months and months to find a buyer. But the time came today not to drag out this painful endgame. So Albrecht formally announced the departures of the Overture CEO and COO. Only patsies like the trades would believe the duo jumped before they were pushed over “strategic differences”. I’ve learned that the duo were told they would be fired if they didn’t resign first. Albrecht issued this terse statement: “I want to thank Chris and Danny for their dedication and hard work in building the studio from the ground up, and wish them well in their future business endeavors.” Now Peter Adee, president of worldwide marketing and distribution and new media, will oversee day-to-day operations of Overture. I’ll write more about the past, present, and future of Overture in a bit.