EXCLUSIVE: UTA has signed writer-director Lee Toland Krieger, who just wrapped directing The Age Of Adaline, the Lakeshore/Anonymous Content production that stars Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michael Huisman and Ellen Burstyn. Krieger had been at ICM Partners. He got an Independent Spirit Award nom for his script for The Vicious Kind, which he directed, and he also helmed Celeste And Jesse Forever with Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg. Lee also directed the pilot for the MTV comedy Happyland which has been picked up to series. Lee is managed by Michael Sugar and Bard Dorros at Anonymous Content and lawyered by George M. Davis.
’360,’ ‘The Babymakers,’ ‘Celeste And Jesse Forever,’ ‘Girlfriend Boyfriend,’ ‘Sushi: The Global Catch’: Specialty Box Office Preview
Brian Brooks is managing editor at MovieLine.
Film Festival pickups highlight this weekend’s new specialty releases. Magnolia is targeting the traditional art house crowd for its cast-rich romantic-drama 360, while the director of The Babymakers said his comedy is the sort that big studios have now mostly abandoned. Sony Classics’ Celeste And Jesse Forever had a wild ride at different outfits before getting private financing and a pickup out of Sundance. China Lion nabbed Girlfriend Boyfriend at the Cannes Film Market and will target both gays and Asian audiences, while Alive Mind Cinema is taking a quasi-DIY approach for Seattle Film Festival doc Sushi: The Global Catch.
Magnolia Pictures picked up this romantic-drama out of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The distributor was drawn to the film, directed by Fernando Meirelles and Oscar-nominated writer Peter Morgan (The Queen) due to its pedigree of filmmakers and actors. “It’s a sophisticated team of filmmakers and a lovely cast,” said Magnolia exec Matt Cowal. “It’s a smart and elegant movie that will appeal to the classic art-house audience.” To reach that crowd, Magnolia created a poster and trailer for the “ensemble character-driven film, and we’ve been pushing this online.” It opens in exclusive runs today in New York and Los Angeles. Magnolia aims to reach the top 10 markets by August 10th and the top 20 by August 20th.
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Berlin Market And Festival Kick Off In Flurry Of Last-Minute Momentum
As I mentioned in my Berlin preview, announcements are coming fast and furious at the EFM despite a lack of pre-market momentum. Below is a roundup of some of today’s highlights:
France’s SND will finance, co-produce and handle worldwide distribution on Love Punch from Last Chance Harvey director Joel Hopkins, who’ll reteam here with that film’s star Emma Thompson. Pierce Brosnan also toplines the film to shoot this summer in the UK, Paris and on the French Riviera. The duo play a divorced couple on the track of an unscrupulous businessman who has stolen their retirement money. SND is a company to watch. It was a 10% stakeholder in Summit up until Lionsgate’s recent acquisition of that company and I understand it’s on the hunt for new investments. …
Sierra/Affinity has taken on international sales for Sundance premiere Celeste And Jesse Forever in a deal financed by PalmStar Media Capital. Sony Pictures Classics acquired the film for domestic at Sundance last month. The Leo Toland Krieger-directed relationship comedy stars Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts, Chris Messina and Ari Graynor. Jones and Will McCormack wrote the screenplay. …
The King’s Speech and Woman In Black distributor Momentum Pictures has acquired horror film Frankenstein’s Army for the UK. The MPI/Dark Sky Films, XYZ Films and Pellicola co-production is currently shooting. MPI and XYZ (which produced Gareth Evans’ martial arts hit The Raid) are handling international
Even as the Sundance Film Festival rolls into its 4th decade, there’s one “first” at this year’s edition which kicks off Thursday. The festival’s Premieres section will all screen (as of now) without distribution in place. “For the first time, all of the films in Premieres are for sale,” Sundance’s head of programming Trevor Groth tells me. Groth said that the big For Sale sign in the section was not a conscious effort on the part of programmers but instead “circumstantial”. Though he added that the change in the specialty landscape may have contributed: “A number of these films came from producers and not distributors. Maybe it’s a one-off year, but we’ll see.” The first narratives in Premieres will screen Friday evening with Celeste And Jesse Forever, director Lee Toland Krieger’s story of a troubled couple starring Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Emma Roberts, and Elijah Wood. That’s followed by Rodrigo Cortés’ metaphysical phenomena drama Red Lights with Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones, and Leonardo Sbaraglia.