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FilmDistrict Picks Up ‘Olympus Has Fallen’; Thriller Set For April 5, 2013 Release

By | Friday October 26, 2012 @ 3:55pm PDT

FilmDistrict has acquired domestic distribution rights to the White House action thriller Olympus Has Fallen. The company will release the Millennium Films-produced movie April 5, 2013, in the U.S. This puts the picture ahead of Sony Pictures‘ similarly themed White House Down; that Roland Emmerich-directed movie is scheduled to come out June 28, 2013. In Olympus Has Fallen, Gerard Butler plays a Secret Service agent who tries to stop a takeover of the White House. Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett and Aaron Eckhart as the president also star.  Antoine Fuqua is directing. Mark Gill, Alan Siegel and Butler are producing. Millennium’s Avi Lerner and Trevor Short are executive producing along with Danny Dimbort, Boaz Davidson, John Thompson and Heidi Jo Markel.

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Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ Gets October 2013 Release Date

By | Friday October 19, 2012 @ 11:14am PDT

FilmDistrict so far has October 11, 2013 all to itself on the release schedule with Oldboy, which stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley and Samuel L. Jackson in a remake of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 cult suspense thriller. Spike Lee is directing. Brolin plays an advertising executive who is kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement without any indication of his captor’s motive. When he is released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his punishment only to find he is still trapped in a web of conspiracy and torment. Mark Protosevich wrote the adapted screenplay and is co-producing.

FilmDistrict picked up U.S. distribution rights to Oldboy last month in Toronto. It is set as the first title from Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane’s Good Universe. Kahane produced with Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee and Doug Davison, and Drake, FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel and John Middleton executive produced. The film is also a 40 Acres & A Mule production.

The original South Korean film won the Grand Prize Jury Award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

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Toronto: FilmDistrict Grabs U.S. Rights To Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’

By | Friday September 7, 2012 @ 7:33am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: FilmDistrict grabbed US distribution rights to Oldboy, the Spike Lee-directed remake of the crazy South Korean suspense film. Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley star. Roy Lee and Doug Davison via Vertigo Entertainment and Nathan Kahane on behalf of Good Universe. FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel, Joe Drake of Good Universe, and John Middleton will executive produce. Mark Protosevich wrote the adapted screenplay and is co-producing. Audrey Chon and Matt Leonetti are overseeing the film for Good Universe. The film is also a 40 Acres & A Mule production.

FilmDistrict’s Peter Schlessel stated, “Spike Lee is the right filmmaker to reimagine and put his touch onto arguably one of the most talked about thrillers in recent memory. The cast that he and producers Nathan, Joe, Roy and Doug have put together is sure to elevate the material and engage audiences. FilmDistrict is proud to be releasing one of the first films from Good Universe here in the U.S.”

Brolin plays an ad exec who is kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement without any indication of his captor’s motive. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his bizarre and torturous punishment only to find he is still trapped in a web of conspiracy and torment. His quest for revenge leads him into an ill-fated relationship with a young social worker (Olsen) and ultimately to an odd man (Copley) who allegedly … Read More »

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‘Red Dawn’ World Premiere To Close Fantastic Fest

By | Wednesday September 5, 2012 @ 10:35am PDT

Red Dawn Fantastic FestRed Dawn, based on the 1984 film of the same name, stars Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson, Josh Peck, and Adrianne Palicki and will have its world premiere September 27 at the Austin-based festival. FilmDistrict is releasing the action pic domestically November 21. The genre fest, which has hosted world premieres of movies like There Will Be Blood and Apocalypto, runs this year from September 20-27 at the Alamo Drafthouse.

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Red Dawn’

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Hot Trailer: ‘Playing For Keeps’

By | Tuesday August 7, 2012 @ 2:26pm PDT

Here’s a look at Gerard Butler as a retired soccer pro in Playing For Keeps. Butler’s character suffers from a roving eye that ruined his marriage and alienated his son (Noah Lomax), and he moves closer to them to try to mend the relationships. Directed by Gabriele Muccino and written by Robbie Fox, the comedy also stars Jessica Biel, Judy Greer, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones. FilmDistrict acquired the NuImage/Millennium Films project at Cannes and will release it December 7th.

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FilmDistrict Renames Gerard Butler Soccer Comedy ‘Playing For Keeps’

By | Monday July 16, 2012 @ 7:21pm PDT

The newly titled Playing For Keeps (formerly Playing The Field) remains set for a December 7 wide release from FilmDistrict, which acquired the title at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The Nu Image/Millennium Films comedy stars Gerard Butler as a retired soccer pro who, burnt out on his playboy lifestyle and bankrupt, moves back to Virginia to reconnect with his estranged ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and son (Noah Lomax). He starts to coach the boys’ soccer team but is tested by the sexy soccer moms and desperate housewives he must deal with. Judy Greer, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones also star. Gabriele Muccino directed the Robbie Fox screenplay.

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FilmDistrict Hires New Line’s Elissa Greer As SVP Publicity

By | Monday June 25, 2012 @ 2:56pm PDT

Related: FilmDistrict Hires Trio Of Marketing Execs

LOS ANGELES – June 25, 2012 –Independent North American distributor FilmDistrict announced today that Elissa Greer has joined the studio as Senior Vice President of Publicity, overseeing the Company’s domestic theatrical publicity and promotional campaigns. Greer, a seasoned executive who built her career at the independently oriented New Line Cinema, will report to Christine Birch, FilmDistrict’s President of Marketing, who made today’s announcement. The hiring of Greer completes the senior executive team working under Birch, a team that shares a wide range of experience, a passion for film, and the desire to build FilmDistrict into a market leader.

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‘Dead Man Down’ Gets Release Date

By | Thursday June 21, 2012 @ 11:26am PDT

FilmDistrict has announced an April 5, 2013 release date for the Niels Arden Oplev-helmed Dead Man Down. The film stars Colin Farrell as Victor, a professional killer and the right-hand man to an underground crime lord in New York City who’s seduced and blackmailed by Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), a crime victim seeking retribution. The cast also features Terrence Howard and Dominic Cooper. J.H. Wyman penned and co-produced the film with Neal H. Moritz. IM Global and WWE Studios financed.

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FilmDistrict Hires Trio Of Marketing Execs

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 5:37pm PDT

Following a busy Cannes Film Festival and hires of Christine Birch as president of marketing and Jim Orr as president of distribution, FilmDistrict has brought aboard three additional marketing executives: Tracy Pollard as SVP creative advertising, Brad Goldberg as SVP media and Anna Baxter as SVP digital marketing. Along with those appointments FilmDistrict veteran Adrian Alperovich has been promoted to chief operating officer. Alperovich most recently was president of acquisitions and operations. Pollard’s diverse resume includes campaigns for It’s Complicated, Despicable Me, and more recently Limitless, Haywire and Immortals. Goldberg has worked media on the studio and agency side, most recently SVP media and promotions at Sony Pictures Entertainment. Baxter most recently worked at Universal McCann.
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FilmDistrict Buys U.S. Rights To Colin Farrell-Noomi Rapace Pic ‘Dead Man Down’

Mike Fleming

Colin Farrell Dead Man DownEXCLUSIVE: FilmDistrict has closed a deal for U.S. distribution rights to Dead Man Down, a romantic thriller being directed by Niels Arden Oplev and starring Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard and Dominic Cooper. Rapace and Oplev teamed in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and she next stars in the Ridley Scott-directed Prometheus.

It is the second significant acquisition of the Cannes Film Festival by FilmDistrict, which also acquired the horror film Oculus from Intrepid Pictures.

Noomi Rapace Dead Man DownScripted by J.H. Wyman (Fringe), Dead Man Down stars Farrell as the right-hand man to an underground crime lord in New York City who is seduced and blackmailed by Beatrice (Rapace), a crime victim seeking retribution. Their chemistry and intense relationship leads them to execute a violent and cathartic plan for revenge.

The $30 million film is being financed by IM Global and WWE Studios. Original Films’ Neal H. Moritz is producing with Wyman through his Frequency Films shingle. FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel is executive producer along with Ori Marmur, Stuart Ford, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Deepak Nayar, and WWE Films’ Michael Luisi. The film began shooting in Philadelphia and New York in April and FilmDistrict will release it in the fall of 2013. Read More »

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FilmDistrict Acquires ‘Oculus’: Cannes

By | Wednesday May 16, 2012 @ 1:18am PDT
Mike Fleming

FilmDistrict has acquired Intrepid Pictures’ horror feature Oculus, to be directed by Mike Flanagan from a script he co-wrote with Jeff Howard based on Flanagan’s acclaimed short film. Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans will produce and are fully financing the project, and the company’s Anil Kurian will executive produce. International sales are being handled by Focus Features International at Cannes. Production is set for a late summer start.

The logline: Ten years ago a horrifying family incident left two young children orphans. Although authorities charged the brother with murder, his sister believed that the true culprit was a haunted antique mirror. Now completely rehabilitated and in his 20s, the brother is ready to move on but his sister is determined to prove that the haunted mirror was responsible for destroying their family.

“When we read the script for Oculus and saw Mike’s short, we were excited about his potential to create a film that would deliver real scares to horror fans,” said Schlessel. “We look forward to working with Trevor and Marc and their team at Intrepid on the project.”

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Hot Trailer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis In ‘Looper’

By | Thursday April 12, 2012 @ 5:00pm PDT

In this futuristic thriller, when the mob wants to rub out an enemy, they dispatch their target back in time 30 or so years where a Looper — in this case Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) will take care of the job. Which presents a problem when Joe’s employers decide to close the loop and send future Joe (Bruce Willis) for assassination. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Looper also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels. The film was one of the hottest titles at the last Cannes Film Festival, where FilmDistrict bought it before it was completed. It’s also a reteam between Gordon-Levitt and Johnson, who worked together on the indie Brick. Currently slated to open September 28.

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FilmDistrict Hires Jim Orr As President Of Distribution

By | Thursday April 12, 2012 @ 4:32pm PDT Orr has joined FilmDistrict as the new president of distribution, CEO Peter Schlessel announced this afternoon. Orr will oversee all aspects of FilmDistrict’s feature distribution and will report directly to Schlessel. This follows Sclessel’s recent hiring of Christine Birch as president of marketing, and positions key executives at FilmDistrict as the company prepares for the Cannes Film Festival and market next month. Orr will oversee distribution of FilmDistrict’s slate, including Lockout (via Open Road) which opens tomorrow, Safety Not Guaranteed (June 8), Looper, in conjunction with Endgame Entertainment and Sony Pictures (September 28), Red Dawn (also via Open Road, November 2) Playing the Field (December 25) and Parker (January 25, 2013). Also in the works is a “reimagining” of the horror cult classic Evil Dead, in conjunction with Ghost House Pictures and Sony Pictures, and a sequel to Insidious, distributed by FilmDistrict. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’

By | Saturday March 31, 2012 @ 11:05am PDT

This whimsical indie was inspired by a classified ad seeking “someone to go back in time with me” — Safety Not Guaranteed. The feature debut of director Colin Trevorrow and screenwriter Derek Connolly screened at Sundance and South by Southwest earlier this year. Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson and Karan Soni star in the FilmDistrict release slated to open June 8.

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FilmDistrict Hires Christine Birch As Marketing President

By | Friday March 23, 2012 @ 5:00pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Peter Schlessel has begun re-staffing FilmDistrict’s distribution operation, hiring Christine Birch to be president of marketing. He has pledged to have a distribution head in place by the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. All this to replace Bob Berney and Jeanne Berney, who departed right after Oscar season. Schlessel placed several of FilmDistrict properties with Open Road in the interim, but he clearly wants to put the label back as a distributor. Among his early releases were Drive and Insidious. Here’s the release on Schlessel’s first major hire:

Los Angeles, March 23, 2012…Christine Birch has joined FilmDistrict as the mini-major’s president of marketing as announced by Peter Schlessel, FilmDistrict’s CEO. Birch will oversee and orchestrate all aspects of FilmDistrict’s domestic feature film marketing activities including creative advertising, media, publicity, promotion, digital marketing and administration. She will report directly to Schlessel.

“We’re excited to have Christine join the FilmDistrict team,” said Schlessel. “She’s long been known as one of the industry’s most versatile marketing executives. With a varied background in marketing, creative advertising and market research, she is a multi-faceted player who can think strategically, and execute creatively for our slate.”

“I look forward to working with Peter, Adrian Alperovich, Lia Buman and everyone at FilmDistrict to build a marketing team that’s as aggressive and agile as today’s media landscape demands,” said Birch. “We live in a world where the ability to communicate ideas

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FilmDistrict Partners With Sierra/Affinity On ‘WER,’ Next Film By ‘The Devil Inside’ Team

By | Monday February 6, 2012 @ 2:18pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: FilmDistrict has taken an equity stake in WER, a horror film that is directed by The Devil Inside helmer William Brent Bell that is expected to be one of the hot titles at Berlin later this week. Bell wrote the script with Matthew Peterman, with whom he scripted The Devil Inside, a sleeper low budget horror film which has grossed $53 million domestic for Paramount. Shooting begins April 9. FilmDistrict could end up as the film’s domestic distributor, but that hasn’t yet been decided as Peter Schlessel’s distribution company recalibrates and should have new heads of distribution and marketing by Cannes. FilmDistrict, which is working on a sequel to Insidious and a remake of Evil Dead and is up for four Spirit Awards for Drive, will finance the film alongside Sierra/Affinity and its partner, the Incentive Filmed Entertainment fund. Read More »

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FilmDistrict Acquires ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’: Sundance

By | Sunday January 29, 2012 @ 8:18pm PST
Mike Fleming

FilmDistrict acquired U.S. rights to the Colin Trevorrow-directed film Safety Not Guaranteed, which debuted at Sundance last Sunday at the Library Center Theatre. The romantic comedy starts when three magazine employees investigate a personal ad placed in the paper, in which a guy seeks a partner for time travel.

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Lily Collins In Talks For ‘Evil Dead’ Remake

By | Wednesday January 4, 2012 @ 5:16pm PST

Lily Collins is in early discussions for the lead role in FilmDistrict’s remake of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead. Collins’ character Mia would be the main character that corresponds to Ash, who was played by Bruce Campbell in the original 1981 movie, according to the Bloody Disgusting blog. Mia is one of five young people who head to the remote cabin where evil awaits. Recovering from a recent overdose, Mia is particularly vulnerable. Collins plays Snow White in the upcoming Mirror Mirror directed by Tarsem Singh and previously was seen in The Blind Side and Priest. Raimi, Campbell and Rob Tapert are producing with Ghost House Pictures and Mandate Pictures. Fede Alvarez is directing and co-wrote the script with Rodo Sayagues. Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult) is revising the latest draft. The movie is targeted to open April 12, 2013.

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FilmDistrict To Release 2012 Films Through Open Road And Sony

By | Tuesday December 6, 2011 @ 6:47pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Following on the heels of the exit of veteran distribution executive Bob Berney, FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel has made alternative distribution arrangements for the company’s 2012 film releases. Deadline has learned that Schlessel just closed a 3-picture distribution deal with Tom Ortenberg’s Open Road, and he has arranged for several other pictures to be released through Sony.

Open Road will release Escape From M.S. One (formerly called Lock-Out), the Luc Besson-produced sci-fi actioner that stars Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace and will be released April 20, 2012. Open Road will also release the Red Dawn remake that is slated for November 2, 2012. The third film hasn’t been firmed yet and there could be more business with Open Road down the line.

FilmDistrict will also rely on its partnership with Sony Pictures for some of the films. That includes the Rian Johnson-directed time travel drama Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, which will be released through TriStar. Sony will also release the Evil Dead remake that’s being re-imagined by Ghost House Pictures. It is entirely possible that FilmDistrict will return to distributing projects by the time it gets Only God Forgives, the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed drama with Ryan Gosling, or the Chuck Russell-directed Arabian Nights starring Liam Hemsworth. The interim move was made to give Schlessel time to figure out a long term strategy.

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