EXCLUSIVE: LD Entertainment has signed on to produce and finance Santa School, a Karen Janszen-scripted family film. Patrick Aiello is producing with LD Entertainment CEO Mickey Liddell, and Pete Shilaimon. The film has elements of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, in that Santa Claus is confirmed to be real, and he wants to retire. That leads to a lengthy search for a worthy replacement. Aiello, who is producing As Above, So Below for Legendary, hatched the concept. Jennifer Monroe and Patrick Raymond will oversee for LD Entertainment. The company began by acquiring finished films, but now is branching into production.
Janszen’s script credits include A Walk To Remember, Duma, Gracie and Dolphin Tale. She’s separately adapting the Ingrid Law novel Savvy at Walden Media. She’s repped by Gersh and Rain Management.
EXCLUSIVE: The romantic thriller Therese is based on Emile Zola’s novel Therese Raquin and stars Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Jessica Lange and Oscar Isaac. It also marks the feature film debut of writer-director Charlie Stratton. Roadside Attractions has now picked up rights to the period pic that was developed, financed and produced by LD Entertainment, which originally planned to distribute the film itself. Under the new pact, Roadside will oversee marketing and distribution in collaboration with LD distribution president David Dinerstein. Set in the lower depths of 1860s Paris, Olsen plays Therese, a sexually repressed woman trapped into a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin Camille (Felton) by her domineering aunt, Madame Raquin (Lange). After she meets her husband’s alluring friend Laurent (Isaac), she embarks on an illicit affair that leads to tragic consequences. Shirley Henderson, John Kavanagh, Mackenzie Crook and Matt Lucas co-star. Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon and William Horberg produced. Therese is set to have its world premiere September 7 at the Toronto Film Festival, where Exclusive Media is repping international rights. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Director-producer McG has re-launched his Wonderland Sound and Vision with a multi-year funding partnership with Mickey Liddell’s private equity-backed LD Entertainment. The arrangement makes McG a buyer with the financial backing for Wonderland to independently develop, produce and finance its own slate of feature film, television and digital projects. The two sides are not disclosing the size of LD Entertainment’s investment but sources indicate that the deal includes an eight-figure overhead component for Wonderland’s current offices on Sunset Boulevard. McG has brought in Alloy Entertainment’s SVP Television Gina Girolamo to run the television division of the now independent company. She succeeds Peter Johnson, who has left after a nine-year stint. Mary Viola, who has been with Wonderland for four years, will continue to oversee the company’s film slate. We hear Wonderland plans to produce 5-6 shows a year, serving as a virtual studio: co-financing, sharing distribution and owning copyright. Wonderland is believed to be the only independent production company of this scale run by a creative type, writer or director. It is a step up for Liddell’s LD Entertainment; he primarily has invested in distribution rights to prestige films like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful, and started a distribution arm to get in the releasing game.
For the past 12 years, Wonderland was based at Warner Bros Television where it produced more than 500 hours of primetime TV series, including the CW staple Supernatural, Nikita, Chuck and digital series Aim High. McG was offered to stay at the studio with a very lucrative new deal but wanted to step out of the traditional system, an idea he had been bouncing around for years. Here is how McG explains the philosophy and the goals of the company in its new incarnation: “Wonderland is built for the most talented directors, writers, and actors to come over and get their films and television shows made. Our focus is to support the artist and get the material into production. This new relationship now puts Wonderland in a position to go straight into production on our projects. We are now a buyer and, in turn, plan to deliver product to the marketplace quickly and efficiently via traditional and emerging distribution platforms.” Liddell called McG “one of the most creative and innovative talents in the entertainment industry.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Producer-distributor LD Entertainment is planning a fall festival run and a September 27, 2013 release for Therese, directed and written by Charlie Stratton and starring Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Jessica Lange and Oscar Isaac. An Oscar campaign is also planned for the romantic thriller based on the Emile Zola novel Therese Raquin, which is set in the lower depths of 1860s Paris. Therese (Olsen) is a sexually repressed woman trapped into a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin Camille (Felton) by her domineering aunt, Madame Raquin (Lange). After she meets her husband’s alluring friend, Laurent (Isaac), she embarks on an illicit affair that leads to tragic consequences. Shirley Henderson, John Kavanagh, Mackenzie Crook and Matt Lucas co-star. LD’s Mickey Liddell and Pete Shilaimon produced the pic with William Horberg. Exclusive Media is repping international rights.
Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Andrea Riseborough and Alexander Skarsgård star in LD Entertainment‘s ensemble drama about the dangers of life in the digital age. Director Henry Alex Rubin, who earned an Oscar nomination for his 2005 documentary Murderball, helms his first narrative feature from a script by Andrew Stern. Mickey Liddell, Jennifer Monroe, and William Horberg produced the pic which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival. Disconnect opens in limited release April 12.
EXCLUSIVE: The William Friedkin-directed black comedy Killer Joe will be released by LD Entertainment on July 27 with an NC-17 rating. The film received that rating in late February, and the decision was made after the distributor and filmmaker unsuccessfully went through the appeals process before deciding they didn’t want to change the ending.
An adaptation of the Tracy Letts play, Killer Joe is the first release by LD Entertainment after Mickey Liddell formed the distribution company late last year and hired veteran indie executive David Dinerstein to run it. It’s not the first time Friedkin turned in a cut of a film that drew a dreaded rating from the MPAA. While Friedkin tackled rough subject matter in films like The Exorcist and To Live And Die In L.A., he got an X-rating for the 1980 film Cruising, in which Al Pacino played a detective who goes undercover looking for a killer preying on gay men. Friedkin said he had to cut 40 minutes of that movie to get an R rating. But he won’t have to cut a frame of Killer Joe. LD Entertainment will release a trailer for the film tomorrow, and it will wear the NC-17 rating like a red badge of courage. Read More »
‘Killer Joe’ Gets NC-17; Planning To Appeal Rating
LOS ANGELES — The Classification and Rating Appeals Board today upheld the NC-17 rating given to the movie Killer Joe. The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) had assigned the movie the NC-17 rating for “graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality.” In the appeal brought by LD Entertainment, the Appeals Board heard statements on behalf of Killer Joe from David Dinerstein, President of LD Entertainment, and Tracy Letts, Pulitzer Prizewinner, Playwright and Screenwriter. The Classification and Rating Administration was represented by Chairman Joan Graves.
EXCLUSIVE: Another movie has gotten an NC-17. Killer Joe, the Billy Friedkin-directed adaptation of the Tracy Letts play just got an NC-17 rating. That is one of the first releases by LD Entertainment, the new distribution company started by Mickey Liddell and run by David Dinerstein. They will appeal the rating and it’s unusual; Letts is the Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning playwright of August: Osage County.This one is a garish, sexy black comedy that stars Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gerson and Thomas Haden Church and it’s slated for a summer release.
The pic premiered at Venice and it has been called Tennessee Williams meets Quentin Tarantino. It played Toronto, where it was acquired by LD, and will makes its US premiere at SXSW. It’s racy and violent, but LD thinks it’s an R film. “We will use our best efforts to overturn this decision,” Dinerstein said. “We stand by our filmmakers and remain faithful to their visions.” Stay tuned.
The former Miramax and Weinstein Co publicity executive recently relocated to Los Angeles temporarily overseeing publicity at Screen Gems. She will remain in L.A. for her new position at LD Entertainment, where she will report to company president David Dinerstein. Previously, Berger was publicity SVP at FilmDistrict overseeing campaigns for Insidious and Soul Surfer. In addition to Berger, LD Entertainment has hired vet independent casting director Deanna Brigidi-Stewart as VP Casting. Brigidi-Stewart will oversee casting for all LD Entertainment properties. The company will continue to use outside casting resources for its slate of films. LD Entertainment’s slate includes William Friedkin’s Killer Joe starring Matthew McConaughey, which will have its U.S. premiere at SXSW; the horror film The Collection from Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, the writers of Saw IV, V and VI, Disconnect starring Jason Bateman and Alexander Skarsgard from director Henry-Alex Rubin; and the thriller Black Rock, which was acquired at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The company produced The Grey, starring Liam Neeson, and Albert Nobbs. LD plans to release four to six films in its initial year.
EXCLUSIVE: LD Entertainment is closing a North American distribution deal for Black Rock, the thriller that premiered last night in a midnight screening at The Library. I’ve heard six figures [UPDATE: Several sources say price was in the seven-figure range], and it’s going to be a theatrical release. Directed by Katie Aselton and written by Mark Duplass, it stars Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell and Aselton. Deal was made this morning by Submarine’s Josh Braun and LD president David Dinerstein and principal Mickey Liddell. The film’s described as a mix between Deliverance and Thelma And Louise. Three female fiiends set aside personal issues and organize a girl getaway weekend on a remote on the coast of Maine. One wrong move turns into a deadly fight for survival.
I’ve heard several distributors chased this, including Gold Circle, Lionsgate, Magnolia and IFC. This is the third deal for Submarine in the last two days, after The Queen of Versailles to Magnolia and Searching For Sugar Man went to Sony Pictures Classics.