Kevin Kasha is moving up from his current role as EVP Worldwide Acquisitions at Anchor Bay Entertainment to the newly created position of Head of Acquisitions at Starz, the parent company of Anchor Bay. In his new role, Kasha will oversee film, television series, and digital acquisitions for all of Starz’s businesses, including Starz Networks, Starz Worldwide Distribution, Starz Digital Media, and Anchor Bay Entertainment. The promotion was announced today by Michael Thornton, Chief Revenue Officer at Starz. Kasha joined Anchor Bay Films in 2008 as SVP Acquisitions. He was promoted to EVP Worldwide Acquisitions & Co-Productions in the spring of 2010. During his five-year tenure, Kasha acquired more than 100 films, according to Starz, including Andy Garcia-starrer City Island and Solitary Man, starring Michael Douglas. Kasha also acquired the home entertainment and digital rights to AMC’s The Walking Dead. Recent acquisitions include Rob Zombie’s The Lords Of Salem, Kill The Irishman, Billy Bob Thornton’s Jayne Mansfield’s Car and the cult hit Battle Royale. Upcoming releases include At Middleton as well as a new joint venture with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment for the release of Gina Carano’s In The Blood.
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 …
EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay Films just acquired U.S. distribution rights to 13, Gela Babluani’s remake of his 2005 thriller 13 Tzameti. The film isn’t playing here at Toronto, but it will be one of a flurry of titles being shopped during the festival, something that proved very effective in Cannes, where some of the biggest acquisition deals were made on the basis of sellers showing promo reels to hungry distributors.
The remake stars Sam Riley, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Ray Winstone, Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Shannon, Ben Gazzara, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Mickey Rourke and Jason Statham. Anchor Bay president Bill Clark and EVP Worldwide Acquisitions and Co-Productions Kevin Kasha made the deal with WME Global’s Alexis Garcia.
“13 was a great pick-up for Anchor Bay Films,” Kasha said. “The film has an amazing cast and it truly keeps you guessing. We’re excited to be working with Babluani in releasing it.”
The original won the 2006 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, and Babluani won best director at the Venice Film Festival later that year. A desperate man steals an envelope promising a mysterious job that can make him a fortune. Assuming a false identity, he discovers he’s enlisted to be a numbered participant in an underworld Russian roulette competition where gamblers place bets on the contestants. The potential payoff is so high he goes through with it despite the long odds of survival.
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 …
TORONTO: The Toronto deals are exploding! Anchor Bay Films has just closed all English-speaking rights to Beautiful Boy, the Shawn Ku-directed drama. I’m told the deal was 7-figures, negotiated by Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group’s Ben Weiss with Anchor Bay Films’ Kevin Kasha. Deal includes a P&A commitment. Lightning Entertainment is selling foreign. It stars Maria Bello and Michael Sheen as disengaged parents of a college student who discover not only that he has been killed in a campus shooting, but that he was the triggerman who massacred other students. The picture premiered Sunday and has been a topic of buzz, particularly for those strong lead performances and Ku’s and Michael Armbruster’s script. Anchor Bay continues to raise its profile after acquiring and releasing Solitary Man and City Island. First Point Entertainment’s Lee Clay and Gold Rush Entertainment’s Eric Gozlan produced the pic.
EXCLUSIVE: Josh Radnor’s feature directorial debut Happythankyoumoreplease has severed ties with distributor Hannover House, and is negotiating a new deal to be distributed by Anchor Bay Films. The intention is to release the film theatrically.
The deal’s being made by Anchor Bay Films acquisition head Kevin Kasha, who most recently acquired City Island and the Michael Douglas-starrer Solitary Man, both of which had theatrical releases.
The film was written, directed and produced by Radnor, the star of the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and it premiered last January at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award. Shortly after, the film’s North American and DVD rights were acquired by Hannover House, the Arkansas-based company that separately just received a cease and desist letter from Terminator rights holder Pacificor, a missive that followed Hannover House’s announced plans to make Terminator 3000, an animated 3D feature. While Hannover House did handle the release of another festival pickup, the Joel Schumacher-directed Twelve with Chace Crawford and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, there were rumbles of problems on Radnor’s film.
Happythankyoumoreplease is actually the third independent film to recently sever ties to a distribution company. I Love You Philip Morris was pulled back from upstart distributor Consolidated Pictures Group by producer/financier Luc Besson’s Europacorp, after three release dates were missed and CPG seemed unable to come up with promised P&A money. The …