Chasing the recent trend in hot faith-based box office performers, Samuel Goldwyn Films has taken U.S. rights to music-driven love story The Song, a modern-day adaptation of the life and writings of Solomon. The contemporary take on the Old Testament tale of love and longing tracks singer-songwriter Jed King (Alan Powell, of the Christian pop band Anthem Lights), who falls for and marries a vineyard owner’s daughter (Ali Faulkner) and is inspired to write her “The Song.” It becomes a breakout hit and he’s thrust into the spotlight, where temptation awaits in the form of a fellow musician (Caitlin Nicol-Thomas). Richard Ramsey wrote and directed the film, which features ten original songs, for faith-based shingle City on a Hill Studio. Samuel Goldwyn will release The Song September 26. Ian Puente, Vice President and General Counsel of Samuel Goldwyn Films, negotiated the deal with exec producer Tony Young, president of City on a Hill Studio.
Lifetime Films has made a sale on its first pic, with Samuel Goldwyn Films acquiring U.S. rights to the Kevin Kline-starrer The Last Of Robin Hood. A fall theatrical bow is planned for the biopic, which bowed at Toronto last fall. Co-written and co-directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, the biopic focuses on the final years of Errol Flynn (Kline) and his May-December romance with starlet Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning), and the role of Aadland’s mother (Susan Sarandon) in encouraging the relationship. Bryan Batt, Max Casella, Jason Davis, Matt Kane, Patrick St. Esprit, Ric Reitz, and Justina Machado co-star. “The Last Of Robin Hood captures a very unique aspect of Hollywood and celebrity,” Samuel Goldwyn Films SVP Peter Goldwyn said in announcing the pickup.
“The film takes place in 1959, but it might as well be 2014. You have an aging superstar struggling to maintain his fame, a starlet chasing her big break, a manipulative ‘stage’ mother, and the public’s timeless curiosity, almost obsession with, ‘celebrity.’ The non-stop, sensational tabloid coverage of Errol Flynn’s life and relationship mirrors exactly the kind of coverage this story would receive in Hollywood 55 years later.”
Lifetime network-affiliated Lifetime Films was launched as a division of A+E Studios in June 2013 and develops, produces and acquires female-focused indie movies. Robin Hood was its first project. It since has partnered with Viola Davis, Julius Tennon’s JuVee Prods. and Sara Risher’s ChickFlicks to produce Lila And Eve, starring Davis and Jennifer Lopez.
Argentina, one of the last big territories to announce its submission for the Foreign Language Oscar race, has chosen The German Doctor (Wakolda). Lucia Puenzo‘s drama is based on her own novel about the search for notorious Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who hid in South America. The triller focuses on an Argentinian family that unwittingly puts their daughter under the care of the monster. It screened in Un Certain Regard in Cannes and Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired it this week for the U.S. Argentina last won the Foreign Language Oscar in 2009 with The Secret In Their Eyes, directed by Juan José Campanella whose 3D animated pic Foosball is currently the top grossing local film in Argentina at a particularly hot box office for homegrown pics.
Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired U.S. rights to the Lucia Puenzo-directed thriller The German Doctor. The film screened in Un Certain Regard at Cannes under the Argeninian title Wakolda. SGF will release in the spring. Pic is based on a novel by the director about the search for notorious Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who hid in South America. Thriller focused on an Argentinian family that unwittingly puts their daughter under the care of the monster.
With Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color ineligible for submission as France’s entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar race, the local committee has turned to a decidedly different type of film. Gilles Bourdos’ Renoir debuted in Cannes in 2012 in the Un Certain Regard sidebar. Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired it at the time and released it in the U.S. in March to about $2.2M in box office. Although the film has been around for a while, it fits within the necessary criteria of a release between October 1st, 2012 and September 30th, 2013. Its French theatrical release was on January 2nd this year. Conversely, Blue‘s is not until October 9th, meaning it will miss the September 30th cutoff. Renoir is set on the Côte d’Azur in 1915 and centers on Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir and the woman who becomes the painter’s model and the filmmaker’s lover. Veteran French actor Michel Bouquet stars with Vincent Rottiers and Christa Theret. Fidélité Films produced the movie that was sold internationally by Wild Bunch — incidentally also the sales company on Blue. French film body the CNC rounds up a committee each year to select the Oscar entry. It’s made up of two permanent judges — Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and the CNC’s Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens — and …
Los Angeles, CA (August 29, 2013) – Gravitas Ventures has acquired all North American rights to Laurie Collyer’s SUNLIGHT JR., starring Academy Award® nominee Naomi Watts, Norman Reedus, and Academy Award® nominee Matt Dillon. Gravitas will partner with Samuel Goldwyn Films for the release. The film will have a pre-theatrical VoD opening and will then be released in theaters November 2013. SUNLIGHT JR. recently played to critical acclaim in competition at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. SUNLIGHT JR. spotlights hard-working convenience store clerk Melissa (Naomi Watts) and her disabled boyfriend, Richie (Matt Dillon), who are trapped in a generational cycle of poverty. Their luck may be changing when they learn that Melissa has become pregnant. But as soon as she loses her job and they get evicted from the motel they live in, their joy vanishes. Through this adversity, the couple realizes that they can never lose everything as long as they have each other.
Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired U.S. rights to the Freida Mock-directed Anita, the film about Anita Hill which debuted at Sundance and just screened as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Goldwyn will release this fall. In a backdrop of sex, politics, and race, the film describes Hill and the firestorm that occurred when she sat before a Senate committee 22 years ago and recounted the repeated acts of sexual harassment she had endured while working with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. That October day in 1991 Anita Hill, a bookish law professor from Oklahoma, was thrust onto the world stage and instantly became a celebrated, hated, venerated, and divisive figure. Hill took part in the docu and described the experience and the aftermath.
According to Peter Goldwyn, Senior Vice President of Samuel Goldwyn Films: “We are excited to be working with the talented Freida Mock in bringing Anita’s powerful, life-changing story to not only the people who lived through the circus of the hearings but also to a new generation. Anita’s impact on the course of history over the last 20 plus years shouldn’t be forgotten and this film celebrates her legacy.”
Phase 4 Films and Samuel Goldwyn Films will jointly release The Short Game on September 20. Directed by Josh Greenbaum, The Short Game won the SXSW 2013 Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. It tells the story of eight of the best 7-year-old golfers in the world as they train for and compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf. The cast includes Allan Kournikova, Anna Kournikova’s 7-year-old brother. Greenbaum also produces. John Battsek (The Imposter, Searching For Sugar Man) and David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Hope Springs) are exec producers.
The Gilles Bourdos-directed Renoir debuted in Un Certain Regard at Cannes last year where Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired it for the States. It’s been dated for a March 29 release, but before that Renoir will screen at the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema which kicks off tonight in New York. Celebrating its 18th year, the Rendez-Vous, presented by Unifrance and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, will screen 21 movies including A Lady In Paris with Jeanne Moreau, François Ozon’s In The House and tonight’s opener, Populaire which The Weinstein Co. has in the U.S. Renoir is set on the Côte d’Azur in 1915 and centers on Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir and the woman who becomes the painter’s model and the filmmaker’s lover. Veteran French actor Michel Bouquet stars with Vincent Rottiers and Christa Theret. The trailer is below; click over for the Rendez-Vous promo:
Los Angeles, CA (February 19, 2013) – Samuel Goldwyn Films in association with Provident Films announced today their partnership in the marketing and distribution of David Boyd’s (The Walking Dead, Friday Night Lights) HOME RUN on April 19, 2013. Past successes of the Goldwyn and Provident partnership include Fireproof, October Baby and Facing the Giants.
Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor.
Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired the North American rights to Somm, by first-time documentary feature director Jason Wise. Somm, which screened recently at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, shines a light on the secretive Court of Master Sommeliers, following four men preparing to take the Master Sommelier exam and graduate to the exclusive ranks of the world’s foremost experts in wine. Wise also wrote the documentary and co-produced along with Christina Wise and Jackson Myers. It is executive produced by William Fowler and will be released in Summer 2013.
Toronto, Canada (September 14, 2012) – Samuel Goldwyn Films announced today from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival that the company is acquiring all U.S. rights to writer/director Michael McGowan’s STILL starring Academy Award® nominee James Cromwell and Academy Award® nominee Geneviève Bujold. Both Cromwell and Bujold deliver inspired and tender performances. After decades of playing supporting characters, James Cromwell gives a magnificent turn in his first lead role. Rick Roberts, Julie Stewart, Campbell Scott and Jonathan Potts round out the top-notch cast.
Los Angeles, CA -June 27, 2012 – Samuel Goldwyn Films is proud to announce, as the X Games kick-off, that it is has acquired all U.S. rights to Bandito Brothers’ Waiting For Lightning. The SXSW fan favorite and rousing documentary follows skateboarding legend and action sports pioneer Danny Way on his journey to jump China’s Great Wall, and reveals the passion, grit, determination and psyche behind one of the world’s greatest athletes. Goldwyn plans a Fall 2012 release.
Samuel Goldwyn Films has slated a spring 2013 US release for Renoir, which premieres in Cannes later this week. Set on the Côte d’Azur in 1915, Gilles Bourdos’ love story turns around Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir and the woman who becomes the painter’s model and the filmmaker’s lover. Veteran French actor Michel Bouquet stars with Vincent Rottiers and Christa Theret. Olivier Delbosc and Marc Missonnier are producers, Christine De Jekel is exec producer. Goldwyn’s Ian Puente and Peter Goldwyn negotiated the deal with Wild Bunch’s Carole Baraton and Antoine Zylberberg.
Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired U.S. rights to the Stephen Gyllenhaal-directed Grassroots, a character-driven comedy about the power of the people and the virtues of standing up for what you believe in. Jason Biggs, Joel David Moore, Lauren Ambrose, Cobie Smulders, Tom Arnold, Christopher McDonald and Cedric The Entertainer star.
Gyllenhaal and Justin Rhodes wrote the script and Peggy Rajski, Michael Huffington, Matthew R. Brady, Brent Stiefel and Peggy Case produced with MRB Productions. Goldwyn has slated a June 22nd release.
This coming weekend’s specialty releases include Samuel Goldwyn Films’ Bad Ass, starring Danny Trejo as a Vietnam veteran who takes matters into his own hands to solve a murder, while Indican Pictures’ Falling Away takes a look at a Los Angeles inner-city neighborhood reeling from the aftermath of a devastating school bus crash. Also among Friday’s limited openers is English-language foreign film Late Bloomers starring Isabella Rossellini and William Hurt as a couple confronting their pre-retirement years with divergent results. And documentary Unraveled is a fascinating look at the gilded house arrest of Marc Dreier, a convicted ponzi mastermind who plundered over $700 million from investors, a crime that was overshadowed only by Bernard Madoff’s arrest for the largest fraud scheme in American history just days before.
Director: Craig Moss
Writers: Craig Moss, Elliot Tishman
Cast: Danny Trejo, Charles S. Dutton, Ron Perlman
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
The folks behind action-drama Bad Ass didn’t get much help in terms of resources putting their project together. One jurisdiction even withdrew promised support, which prompted the production to re-locate altogether. “We developed the film in house and financed the film from our own private equity sources without pre-sales,” producer Ash Shah told Deadline. ”It actually came together pretty quickly. The only hiccup we had was after being approved for a rebate from a state (unidentified), they turned around and decided they weren’t going to honor their approval. We had a window with Danny Trejo’s availability so we decided to shoot in LA instead.” Once in LA though, the production went “pretty straightforward,” noted Shah who added that director Craig Moss delivered a “fun and action packed movie for the Grindhouse crowd.” The film centers on a vet who becomes a local hero after saving a man from attackers on a city bus. After his best friend is murdered and the police show little interest in solving the crime, he again takes matters into his own hands.
A slate of documentaries are part of this weekend’s specialty offerings including The Weinstein Company’s high-profile Bully, which should garner some decent box office cha-ching based on publicity alone due to its fight to reverse an R rating from the MPAA. But before it was in the media spotlight, its filmmaker struggled to make the feature much like most indie directors. New Yorker Films is also utilizing school-yard teasing as one way to spread the word about its controversial Norwegian feature Turn Me On, Dammit! Samuel Goldwyn Films is hoping to replicate one of its past successes by keeping the focus on its main subject for its rollout The Island President. And filmmaker Alan Govenar happened upon a low-profile center of Beat culture in Paris, taking what was originally intended to be a short film about the topic and turned it into a full feature in The Beat Hotel.
The weekend’s big box office news is of course Lionsgate’s monolithic Hunger Games, but new specialty rollouts managed to have the odds favor them as well, most notably Samuel Goldwyn Films’ October Baby and Sony Pictures Classics‘ The Raid: Redemption. Indonesian-language action feature Raid scored a $15,781 average from 14 locations, a solid rollout for the feature that will be re-made in English by Screen Gems, so stay tuned. Samuel Goldwyn delivered October Baby in several hundred theaters, reaping good numbers on its three-day tally, while others including 4:44 Last Day On Earth and Musical Chairs debuted modestly.
Among second weekend specialty holdovers, last weekend’s per screen average winner The Kid With A Bike added 21 locations, taking in more than $100K for a respectable $4,500 average (though in straight percentage terms, it’s a 72% drop) for the French-language Cannes 2011 winner. Paramount Vantage’s Jeff Who Lives At Home stayed put in 254 theaters, grossing $600K, averaging $2,362, a decent 29% drop from its opener last week. CBS Films’ Salmon Fishing In The Yemen maintained momentum in its third weekend, doubling its number of theaters, grossing $680K, averaging $5,484, a 25% decline from its sophomore run last week.
1. 4:44 Last Day On Earth (IFC Films) NEW [3 Theaters]
Weekend $8K, Per Screen Average $2,867
2. Brake (IFC Films) NEW [2 Theaters]
Weekend $4,048, Per Screen Average $2,024
3. The Deep Blue Sea (Music Box …
Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor
The anti-abortion drama October Baby opens in 390 theaters nationwide today, and according to distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films its domestic box office has the second-highest per-screen matinee average behind The Hunger Games. So how is an independent faith-based film — the feature debut of video directors and brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin and made for a budget of just more than $1 million — seem poised for success? Like its successful predecessors in the genre, it is relying on word-of-mouth from conservative religious groups. It’s an extension of a strategy that began last fall when October Baby was released for three weeks in 13 theaters in Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi, timed to to an ultimately unsuccessful Mississippi “personhood” ballot initiative and backed with funding from the American Family Association. Baby grossed $7,854 per screen for this period.
For the expansion, the coming-of-age film starring Rachel Hendrix, John Schneider, and Jasmine Guy has tapped into block buys of 1,000 tickets by faith-based groups at churches and colleges who pledge to purchase and distribute them among their members. Samuel Goldwyn and faith-based Provident Films are targeting primarily the Bible Belt: it’s playing 32 theaters in Texas; 14 in the Erwins’ native Alabama, whose governor declared March 23 “October Baby Day”; 23 in North Carolina; and 18 in Georgia. The film is only in nine theaters in New York state and six in Pennsylvania. In California, it is …