Written and directed by Justin Simien, Dear White People takes a satirical look at race relations in the age of Obama. Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P. Bell, Kyle Gallner, Malcolm Barrett, Brittany Curran, Marque Richardson, and Dennis Haysbert star in the Sundance prize winner that follows a group of black students as they navigate campus life and racial politics at a predominantly white college. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will release the film October 17. Check out the first official trailer:
Roadside Attractions has acquired U.S. rights to Xavier Dolan’s Cannes pic Mommy. The plan is to release it in first-quarter 2015. Dolan’s fifth film centers on an explosive 15-year-old boy with ADHD and his widowed single mom. But when Kyla, a new girl across the street, enters their lives, things change. Anne Dorval, Antoine Olivier Pilon and Suzanne Clément star.
Dolan, a Canadian, moved up to the Cannes Competition lineup for the first time with Mommy after winning three prizes in Directors’ Fortnight at just 19 (he was famously miffed to be in Un Certain Regard rather than Competition in 2012 with his Laurence Anyways). Mommy won the Grand Jury prize this year.
EOne and Montreal-based Les Films Séville are handling distribution of the film in English and French Canada, while Séville International VP International Sales Anick Poirier negotiated the U.S. deal with Roadside co-president Howard Cohen and attorney Greg Bernstein.
Upstart company Saban Films will partner with Roadside Attractions to handle the U.S. theatrical distribution of the Tommy Lee Jones-directed The Homesman, the Western that premiered at Cannes. Jones stars with Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, Hailee Steinfeld, James Spader and Meryl Streep. Saban Films, hatched by Haim Saban, and Roadside Attractions plan to release the film this fall on November 7.
Roadside Attractions has hired Miramax and Mandalay veteran Jennifer Berman as its SVP Acquisitions, Co-Productions and Development. She will head feature film acquisitions, development from scripting to final stages, and oversee production working with Roadside’s partners. She’ll have a hand in film production and acquisitions from the early stages at Roadside, which first dove into feature production with last year’s Oscar-nommed All Is Lost from J.C. Chandor. Upcoming titles include Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man and Craig Johnson’s Sundance Waldo Salt Award winner The Skeleton Twins starring Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig.
Fred Schepisi’s adult romantic comedy Words And Pictures had its world premiere as a Gala Presentation in Toronto where Roadside Attractions acquired it for the U.S. Written by Gerald Di Pego, it stars Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche, respectively as a writer whose talent has dried up, and an artist struggling to paint as her body betrays her (Binoche’s own artwork features). The two clash at the prep school where they teach, sparking a flamboyant courtship and a school-wide war over which is more powerful: the word or the picture. Binoche, who won an Oscar for The English Patient, hasn’t been in too many English-language pics of late, much less a comedy, so this looks like a charming departure. Speaking of departures, she’s up in Warner and Legendary’s Godzilla which opens May 16, ahead of Words And Pictures‘ bow on May 23.
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have jointly acquired writer-director Justin Simien‘s debut feature Dear White People, which snagged the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at Sundance in January. Dear White People takes a satirical look at racial politics among the student body at a fictional Ivy League school where four students navigate issues of black militancy, post-racism, and the commodification of black culture on campus. Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris), Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars), Teyonah Parris (Mad Men), and Brandon P Bell (Hollywood Heights) star. Simien made a splash in Park City with the pic, which pays homage to predecessors like Spike Lee’s School Daze and Robert Townshend’s Hollywood Shuffle. Ahead of a planned fall 2014 release, Dear White People is set to screen at this weekend’s New Directors/New Films.
Yann Demange’s debut feature ’71 generated a lot of heat when it premiered in competition at last month’s Berlin Film Festival. The anti-war parable takes place in 1971 and centers on a young British soldier (Unbroken‘s Jack O’Connell) accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast. Unable to tell friend from foe and increasingly wary of his own comrades, he must survive the night alone and find his way to safety. Roadside Attractions and Black Label Media have partnered to take all U.S. rights on the Gregory Burke-scripted pic and plan an early 2015 release.
Robin Gutch of Warp Films and Angus Lamont of Crab Apple are producers, and the pic is backed by Film4, BFI Film Fund, Screen Yorkshire, and Creative Scotland. Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales. The deal was negotiated by CAA on behalf of Black Label and Howard Cohen on behalf of Roadside Attractions, with Mike Goodridge of Protagonist on behalf of the filmmakers. Here’s a clip that made the rounds during Berlin:
David Gordon Green directed Nicolas Cage in the adaptation of Larry Brown’s novel, about an Southern ex-con trying to stay out of trouble. Spoiler alert: He can’t, especially after befriending a hard-luck kid (Tye Sheridan) he tries to protect from an evil father. Sheridan won the Best Newcomer prize for the role at Venice. Gary Hawkins wrote the screenplay. Roadside Attractions nabbed the title in a bidding war during Toronto and is releasing it April 11– but not before Joe has its U.S. Premiere at SXSW on March 13. Here’s the trailer that dropped today:
This has nothing to do with the Stones or Altamont; it’s about Vanessa Hudgens continuing to distance herself from those Disney roots. Her past three roles? A bikini-clad party girl-turned-armed robber in Spring Breakers, a serial killer’s would-be victim in The Frozen Ground and ill-fated accomplice of the title character in Machete Kills. And in Gimme Shelter, the erstwhile High School Musical sweetheart plays a pregnant teenager who flees her abusing mother (Rosario Dawson), is spurned by her Wall Street father (Brendan Fraser) and ends up in a shelter for homeless teens. There she meets a man (James Earl Jones) who steers her on a path to a better future. Written and directed by Ronald Krauss, the drama inspired by a true story opens January 24 via Roadside Attractions. Here’s the first trailer, with a perky intro by Hudgens:
EXCLUSIVE: Roadside Attractions has made some moves on Therese, the film it acquired at Toronto. The film has been retitled In Secret, and has been set for February 21 release. The romantic thriller stars Elizabeth Olsen, Oscar Isaac, Tom Felton and Jessica Lange and is based on Emile Zola’s scandalous novel Thérèse Raquin. LD Entertainment financed it and Roadside made the deal just before the film’s Toronto premiere. Charlie Stratton made his directing debut, and Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon and William Horberg produced. Set in 1860s Paris, pic is a tale of obsessive love, adultery and revenge. Therese (Olsen) is a sexually repressed beautiful young woman trapped into a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille (Tom Felton), by her domineering aunt, Madame Raquin (Lange). Her husband’s friend (Isaac) catches her eye and things go all kinds of wrong from there.
(LOS ANGELES, CA) September 26, 2013 – In advance of its Heartland Film Festival’s World Premiere as the Opening Night film on October 17th, Roadside Attractions has acquired U.S. rights to the inspirational drama GIMME SHELTER from filmmaker Ronald Krauss (AMEXICA). The film stars Vanessa Hudgens, as a pregnant teen runaway, as well as Brendan Fraser, Rosario Dawson, James Earl Jones and Ann Dowd (COMPLIANCE). Roadside has targeted January 24, 2014 for national release.
EXCLUSIVE: The Emmys aren’t even over yet, but the race to be the first movie awards DVD screener of 2013 to land in Oscar voters’ mailboxes is over. And the winner is…..Mud. The Roadside Attractions (with Lionsgate) late April release starring Matthew McConaughey has been sent to all Academy members with some reporting they received it yesterday. The Blu-Ray/DVD came out in early August and at that time Roadside sent it to some bloggers who confused the issue by saying it was then the first Oscar screener to be sent. Of course Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences rules are very clear in this regard and commercial Blu Ray/DVDs cannot be sent to Academy members as part of a campaign. It must be special, generally very plain, packaging without review quotes etc. That is what Academy members are receiving this weekend.
The Jeff Nichols-directed movie is one of the top independent releases of 2013 earning over $21 million at the box office. In fact until Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine surpassed it recently, it was the number one indie. Roadside picked up the film in August 2012 but held it for a Spring launch rather than rushing it out to compete in last year’s Oscar race. The distributor hopes Oscar voters will remember the film, which played in the 2012 Cannes Official Competition, and by getting the screener out first knows it is already on top of the pile of one for voters who have yet to see it. Being first is a mixed bag as far as ultimate results go. Last year The Weinstein Company sent its French import The Intouchables out as the first screener in Mid-October but it failed to land any nominations. In 2011 Summit won the screener race with an early September mailing of A Better Life and was rewarded for its efforts with a Best Actor nod for Demian Bichir, considered a long shot at the time (Roadside virtually tied for first out that year too with The Music Never Stopped, but it came up empty).
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions are nearing a deal for a tag-team release of Life Of Crime, Daniel Schechter’s black comic adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s book The Switch. The deal will be for U.S. rights and it will be worth several million dollars. I will try to get more specific when it closes. The film stars Jennifer Aniston, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Isla Fisher, Will Forte, Mark Boone Junior, Tim Robbins and John Hawkes. The picture’s World Premiere at Toronto doesn’t happen until Saturday night, when it plays as the closing-night film of the Toronto Film Festival. It has screened for buyers and press and industry.
The film features some of the characters from the Quentin Tarantino-directed Jackie Brown, which was based on the Leonard novel Rum Punch. This one takes place 15 years earlier when career criminals Ordell (Bey) and Louis (Hawkes) team up to kidnap the wife (Aniston) of a corrupt Detroit real estate developer (Robbins). The husband refuses to pay the ransom for his wife’s return and the ex-cons are forced to figure out a Plan B to get paid.
Lionsgate and Roadside have done several successful collaborations that include Margin Call and Arbitrage, and Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. Those are among the most successful multi-platform releases, but I’m hearing this will likely be a theatrical release. There is certainly a strong cast here. Schechter told me recently that he wrote the script on spec and then was invited by the author (his idol) to hunt down the rights to The Switch because he and Michael Siegel couldn’t remember where they were. Two years later, Schechter collared those rights and got Leonard’s blessing to move forward. Schechter was eager to show the film to Leonard but the author died at 87 a week before Schechter got the film finished. Leonard would have been in attendance at Saturday’s premiere as well.
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.
If your movie was released in March or April, and has Oscar aspirations, it requires every trick in an Academy consultant’s publicity handbook to try to keep it alive against the massive onslaught of competition unleashed in the back eight months of the year. Very few films released before May at the earliest make the cut these days, at least in the major categories. Oscar voters tend to have short memories. It’s an uphill climb that requires money for big campaigns, a tall order for independent films with limited budgets.
One way to do it is get your Blu-ray out there in August with some fresh television advertising, well before screener season begins, and hope that voters have a chance to check it out before the tsunami of movies start bombarding them in the Fall. For Roadside Attractions‘ Mud which was released in theatres April 26th and Focus Features‘ The Place Beyond The Pines which debuted March 29th, their dueling road to Oscar continues this week with the release of their Blu-ray and DVD. The films have the current distinction of being the two top grossing independent films of 2013, both in the $21 million range, with Mud this week just slightly overtaking Pines for the lead but it remains a dead heat.
The daughter of the king of movie-trailer voice-overs tries to get in the game herself in this comedy written, directed by and starring Lake Bell. In A World… takes a swipe at a very specific boys club as Carol (Bell) tries to break into the biz and her father (Fred Malamed) isn’t exactly supportive — in fact, he’s her main competition. Bell won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance, where the film premiered. Co-starring Demetri Martin, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino and Rob Corddry, Nick Offerman and Geena Davis, it will screen the Los Angeles Film Festival this weekend before opening August 9 via Roadside Attractions:
Robert Redford may not be eligible for any awards at Cannes this year where his new film, All Is Lost premiered to strong response out of competition on Wednesday night, but if the reaction on the Croisette was any indication, he could be headed for the Oscars. The film, in which Redford is the only actor playing a man stranded at sea when his sailboat springs a huge leak, is a tour de force for the star and it won a 9-minute standing ovation at its debut tonight. Even the return of the rain that has plagued this festival could not put a damper on the mood of the filmmakers, Universal International (releasing overseas) and Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions (releasing domestically on October 18th). It is clearly an awards season play, not only for Redford in a role unlike any he has played but also Oscar nominated writer/director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) who proves his first film was no fluke and shows a remarkable ability to pull off this one-man show with real filmmaking skill.
Guillaume Canet’s English-language directorial debut Blood Ties is here in the official selection, out of competition. Lionsgate has taken U.S. distribution rights in what I hear is an over $2M deal, which is understood to be the biggest of the festival so far. The film will go out via Lionsgate sister company Roadside Attractions. Canet and James Gray wrote the script about two brothers, one a cop and one an ex-con. It’s based on the French film Les Liens Du Sang which starred Canet. He stayed behind the camera for this one with Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Domenick Lombardozzi, Mila Kunis, Matthias Schoenaerts, Zoé Saldana and James Caan starring. Lionsgate UK took rights for that territory last year.
LOS ANGELES, CA – February 21, 2013 – Following a jubilant debut at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and a competitive pursuit by distributors, Roadside Attractions acquired U.S. rights, while Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) acquired International rights, to comic charmer IN A WORLD…, written and directed by Lake Bell. Roadside Attractions is planning a summer 2013 release for the film. The film premiered to rave reviews in Sundance’s prestigious Dramatic Competition category and garnered Bell the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, whose past recipients include Christopher Nolan for Memento as well Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini for Winter’s Bone.