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 …
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.
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 …
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 …
(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.
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.
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, which made one of the splashiest deals at the last Toronto Film Festival in acquiring U.S. distribution rights to the Kristen Wiig-Annette Bening-starrer Imogene, has set the film for a July 19 nationwide release. They’ve also changed the film’s title to the catchier Girl Most Likely.
When it was bought, I remember thinking that Imogene was an awful title, unless the film was a biopic of Imogene Coca, and I wouldn’t go see that movie anyway. The new title is a clever reference to Wiig’s character, a one-time playwright-to-watch who unfortunately has saved her most dramatic moments for her trainwreck of a life. A crisis of confidence stunts her professional momentum and when her boyfriend dumps her, she fakes a suicide attempt. She thinks he’ll be sympathetic and take her back. Instead, she’s consigned to return home to Jersey to live with her estranged gambling addict batshit crazy mother (Bening). Matt Dillon, Christopher Fitzgerald, and Darren Criss also star, and American Splendor‘s Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer directed from Michelle Morgan’s script. Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Alix Madigan-Yorkin and Mark Amin produced it.
EXCLUSIVE: Joss Whedon, who late last spring set the blockbuster tone for summer with the May release of The Avengers, will venture further into the warm weather season with his next film — this time aiming for the counter-programming buck. Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate have set a June 7 opening for Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon’s contemporized adaptation of the William Shakespeare play. The film will open that day in five markets and then broaden out June 21.
EXCLUSIVE: In what is shaping up as their second big Toronto Film Festival deal in the last 12 hours, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have teamed to acquire the Stuart Blumberg-directed Thanks For Sharing. I’m hearing the deal is nearly done for an over $2 million minimum guarantee for U.S. rights with a commitment for a theatrical release and not a day-and-date VOD plan. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad and Gwyneth Paltrow, and it made its debut Saturday night at the Ryerson.
This follows last night’s Lionsgate-Roadside deal for the Kristen Wiig-Annette Bening comedy Imogene. Blumberg, who scripted this and also wrote the indie smash The Kids Are All Right, here focuses on three recovering sex addicts who, despite a history of promiscuity and raucous romps, struggle to maintain meaningful relationships among lingering temptations as they go through a 12-step rehab program. It’s Blumberg’s directing debut.