Mickey Liddell Launches Indie Distribution Company With Paramount Classics Co-Founder David Dinerstein At Helm

By | Monday December 12, 2011 @ 11:39am PST
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: After making pricey festival acquisitions in recent years including Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful and then finding distributors to put them out, Mickey Liddell has launched his own distribution operation headed by David Dinerstein to release films like his Toronto acquisition Killer Joe, directed by William Friedkin. Here’s the announcement:

HOLLYWOOD, CA, December 12, 2011– Liddell Entertainment, the innovative production and distribution financier is launching a new theatrical distribution entity, LD Distribution, and named indie veteran David Dinerstein as head of the new company. The company’s initial slate includes: William Friedkin’s critically acclaimed Killer Joe starring Matthew McConaughey; the recently wrapped production, Disconnect, starring Jason Bateman and Alexander Skarsgard from the Oscar nominated director Henry-Alex Rubin; and the horror film, The Collection, from Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, the writers of Saw lV, V and Vl which is currently in post-production. The company plans to release 4 to 6 films in its initial year.

LD Distribution will actively acquire films and provide distribution for Liddell Entertainment’s expanding production slate. Liddell Entertainment is aiming to produce four to six movies a year with budgets of up to $25 million.

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Paula Patton Joins ‘Disconnect’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paula Patton has joined the cast of Disconnect, the indie drama that’s being directed by Murderball‘s Henry Alex Rubin. She joins Alexander Skarsgard, Andrea Riseborough, Frank Grillo and Jason Bateman in the Andrew Stern-scripted drama about disparate lives that … Read More »

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Toronto Recap: No Drunken Spending A Good Sign For Indie Film Resurgence

Mike Fleming

Was the 2011 Toronto Film Festival a good one for dealmaking? Even after organizers announced a 20% uptick in film deals last Friday (the festival includes foreign territories in its count), the sales kept coming. A long-expected deal with Lionsgate on the Jennifer Westfeldt-directed comedy Friends With Kids finally got done (in partnership with Roadside Attractions, which will actually release the film), and Music Box announced overnight it had acquired the Rachel Weisz-starrer The Deep  Blue Sea. Lionsgate was hotly pursuing another film, the Midnight Madness sensation You’re Next, which of all the festival films seems to have the best chance of approaching the box office turned in by Toronto 2010’s breakout Insidious. There have been about 20 acquisitions so far and that many more could come in the next few weeks.

Still, can you call the Toronto acquisitions marketplace “solid” when no films have been bought so far by The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Focus Features, or Fox Searchlight (yeah, I revealed that they bought Shame during Toronto, but it was a deal all but sealed in Venice), or for that matter FilmDistrict, Open Road or Relativity Media, each of which jumped into the distribution business to release films that can play on upwards of 2000 screens? Buyers and sellers said it was a pretty good festival at least. One filled with mostly small deals and a show of distributor discipline that is a positive sign for an indie film sector that just started pulling out of a nosedive this time last year. Read More »

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TORONTO TOLDJA! Mickey Liddell Acquires William Friedkin’s ‘Killer Joe’

Mike Fleming

Mickey Liddell’s Liddell Entertainment closed a U.S. rights deal from Voltage Pictures for Killer Joe, the drama directed by William Friedkin that premiered Sunday night at the Ryerson Theater. This might get CAA bragging rights for the largest sale of the festival so far, with a $4 million minimum guarantee and an even larger P&A commitment. The UTA-brokered Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was also a large deal, said to be in excess of $5 million. Liddell is working on a distribution plan right now for 2012, and he will make a service deal with a distributor. Deadline revealed last night that Liddell was going to get the film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival before coming to Canada. The sexy drama stars Matthew McConaughey as the contract killer title character as well as Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon and Juno Temple. In Killer Joe, Hirsch plays a drug dealer whose cash gets stolen by his mother and has to come up with $6000 or he’s dead. He hires Killer Joe (McConaughey) when he learns mom’s life insurance policy is worth $50,000. Joe usually demands his money up front but is flexible when the drug dealer offers his sister as sexual collateral. Read More »

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Toronto: ‘Friends With Kids’ And ‘Killer Joe’ Deals Getting Closer

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Sellers of Friends With Kids say I jumped the gun and their auction hasn’t concluded. I believe that Lionsgate is squarely in the mix, but they tell me others are still in it too and the outcome isn’t as certain as I’d heard last night for a deal that will be for U.S. only. Will update information as it develops.

EARLIER EXCLUSIVE: The deal logjam here is on the verge of clearing up. Word is rampant that Lionsgate is on the verge of tying down rights to the Jennifer Westfeldt-directed comedy Friends With Kids, with a deal worth upwards of $2 million for U.S. and five other territories. The ensemble comedy stars Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig and Adam Scott as friends whose lives are altered when they start families. Cinetic and Red Granite are selling.

In another deal taking shape, Mickey Liddell is in talks to acquire rights to the William Friedkin-directed Killer Joe, the drama that made its Toronto debut Sunday. It is the first acquisition of the festival for Liddell, whose last year acquisitions included the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Biutiful. Read More »

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Open Road Buys ‘Silent House,’ Eyes March 2012 Release

Mike Fleming

LOS ANGELES, CA, July 21, 2011 – Open Road Films has partnered with Liddell Entertainment for the U.S. release of SILENT HOUSE. The announcement was made today by Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films and Mickey Liddell, CEO of Liddell Entertainment.

Directed by fillmmaking duo Chris Kentis and

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Open Road Acquiring U.S. Rights To Joe Carnahan’s ‘The Grey’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Open Road is in the final stages of acquiring U.S. rights to Joe Carnahan’s The Grey, and it’s shaping up to be a whopper of a deal. The numbers I’m hearing are in the $8 million minimum guarantee range, … Read More »

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Sundance: Update; Weinstein Co. Closes ‘The Details’ For $7.5 Million, $10 Million P&A

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: The Weinstein Company indeed closed this deal, and here are the details. I’m told the minimum guarantee was $7.5 million, with a P&A commitment upwards of $10 million. That makes The Details the largest minimum guarantee of … Read More »

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Sundance: Liddell Moves Into ‘Silent House’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Mickey Liddell’s Liddell Entertainment has acquired domestic and most world rights to the horror film Silent House in a deal just brokered by CAA. I’m told the deal is a $3 million minimum guarantee, and a P&A commitment upwards of $3 million. Liddell gets all territories but UK, … Read More »

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Filmmakers Rally Behind Inarritu’s ‘Biutiful’

Mike Fleming

This Sunday, director Werner Herzog will conduct a Q&A with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu after a screening at the Directors Guild headquarters on Sunset Blvd at 7:30 PM. Herzog rarely does such things, but was moved  to take part in the DGA members-only-event after seeing the film last month. ”I respect Werner and his films so much, because he takes risks and doesn’t compromise,” Inarritu told me. “This was a surprise and an honor, and it helps in the battle to get this film noticed.” Directors are now rallying behind the prestige film and helping it build slow momentum. Biutiful is Mexico’s submission for Best Foreign Language film, and the picture opened its all-categories Oscar campaign with an event last Saturday, hosted by Guillermo del Toro for Inarritu and his below-the-line collaborators Rodrigo Prieto, Gustavo Santaolalla, and Stephen Mirrione. Julian Schnabel showed his support at a Soho House screening in New York last Tuesday, and Robert Benton quizzed the director at DGA headquarters in New York the following day. Among the upcoming events will be a big screening in December that will be followed by a Q&A with Inarritu and Bardem, who’ll be grilled by Sean Penn. Read More »

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‘Biutiful’ Gets Foothold In Oscar Race As Mexico’s Submission

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: While the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Biutiful already figured to be an Oscar contender for a performance by Javier Bardem that won Best Actor honors at Cannes, the picture is now a contender for Best Foreign Language film. Biutiful, which … Read More »

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Roadside Attractions And Liddell Entertainment Acquire ‘Biutiful’

Mike Fleming

What’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yeah. Tojdja! Roadside Attractions and Liddell Entertainment just announced they’ve acquired U.S. rights to the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Biutiful, which won a Best Actor Award for Javier Bardem at Cannes. Roadside Attractions co-president … Read More »

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Roadside Attractions Near ‘Biutiful’ Deal

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: A domestic distribution deal is finally near for Biutiful, the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Spanish language drama that fell into radio silence after premiering in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and winning Best Actor for Javier Bardem. I’m told … Read More »

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