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Hot Trailer: ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’

Jim Jarmusch‘s vampire tale Only Lovers Left Alive premiered in Cannes last year where Sony Pictures Classics acquired it. The film then went on to berths in Toronto and the New York Film Festival. Now, it’s a Spotlight title in Sundance with its first screening on Monday. Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin and Jeffrey Wright star in the tale that’s set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier and follows a deeply depressed underground musician who reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister. SPC has set an April 11 U.S release. The trailer below was put out this week for the French release that’s coming up on February 19th.

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Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Next Woody Allen Pic ‘Magic In The Moonlight’

By | Thursday January 9, 2014 @ 2:08pm PST

woodyMaybe Sony Classics‘ Tom Bernard and Michael Barker have something cooking here with Woody Allen huh? The distributor just announced it has landed North American rights to like the bazillionth Allen-directed film in a row, the South of France in the Jazz Age-set Magic In The Moonlight. (OK, it’s SPC’s seventh movie with Allen and fifth in a row). Today’s deal comes after similar output deals for Blue Jasmine, which is getting awards-season buzz this year, and before that Midnight In Paris, which became Allen’s most profitable pic ever and landed a Best Picture Oscar nomination. Here’s the latest release, which the studio can pretty much cut and paste from previous deals adding things like titles and cast members:

sony-pictures-classics-logo-2NEW YORK (January 9, 2014) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all North American rights to Woody Allen’s upcoming film, MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT from Gravier Productions. Like BLUE JASMINE, the film is produced by Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum and Edward Walson. The film was shot by Darius Khondji (MIDNIGHT IN PARIS) with Production Design by Anne Seibel (MIDNIGHT IN PARIS). Once again, Woody Allen has put together a stellar cast including Eileen Atkins, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney, Emma Stone, and Jacki Weaver. MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT is a romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional

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Sony Pictures Classics Lands Hungarian Oscar Entry ‘The Notebook’

By | Thursday January 2, 2014 @ 4:37pm PST
Mike Fleming

noteSony Pictures Classics acquired North American rights to The Notebook, Hungary’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film. Janos Szasz directed the pic and Intuit Pictures produced with Hunnia Filmstudio, Amour Fou and Dolce Vita Films. The film, adapted from Agota Kristof’s novel, received The Grand Prix Crystal Globe, the top prize at the 2013 Karlovy Vary Film Festival. It made its North American premiere at Toronto. SPC made the deal with Beta Cinema. Set on the onset of WWII, pic tells the story of 13-year-old twins abandoned by their parents and forced to live with their cruel grandmother in a village on the Hungarian border. Studying the evil surrounding them, the twins learn to rely on their loyalty to one another, ultimately surviving in the face of challenging circumstances.

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Sony Classics, Stage 6 Set ‘The Raid 2′ For March 28 Release

By | Monday December 23, 2013 @ 8:30am PST

the-raid-2__130417223503-275x182The martial arts actioner will bow in the U.S. on March 28, Sony Pictures Classics and Stage 6 Films announced today. Slated to world premiere at the upcoming Sundance Film Fest, the Indonesian action sequel picks up where the first film The Raid: Redemption left off. Raid 2 follows Rama (Iko Uwais) as he goes undercover and infiltrates the ranks of a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate in order to protect his family and uncover the corruption in his own police force.

The Raid 2 was produced by Ario Sagantoro for Merantau Films, and Aram Tertzakian and Nate Bolotin of XYZ Films. The film was executive produced by Rangga Maya Barack-Evans for Merantau Films, Irwan D. Mussry, Nick Spicer and Todd Brown on behalf of XYZ.

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Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’ Returning To 300 Theaters This Weekend

By | Tuesday December 10, 2013 @ 3:44pm PST

blue-jasmine_05-300x156New York, NY (December 10, 2013) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they will release again Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine on 300 theaters nationwide this weekend. The film was in 35 theaters this past weekend so will be expanded into a marketplace that will include another of Sony’s Oscar contenders, American Hustle and also Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, both will rollout in a limited release.

Sony is following a similar and previous strategy that they implemented for Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris which, after opening in May of 2011, was re-released two and a half months later. The expansion pushed its box office to $58 million.

“When we did this with Midnight in Paris, we re-invented the movie in the marketplace people either rediscovered or see it for the first time. It extended the release of the film. We opened Blue Jasmine in July,  so this is a good opportunity to get this back into the conversation (during awards season),” said Michael Barker, Sony Pictures Classics co-president.  He noted that in UK, Blue Jasmine is the the highest grossing Woody Allen movie to date.

The film has already been named one of the Best Films of the Year by publications such as Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone.  Cate Blanchett has garnered numerous accolades in the Best Actress category from critics’ groups around the country for her role as Jasmine, an elegant New York socialite who moves into her sister’s apartment in San Francisco after

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Invisible Woman’

By | Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 2:10pm PST

Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes at Berlin in February. He plays Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman, and the title character is Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), the young actress Dickens met at the height of his career and had a secret affair with until his death in 1870. Based on Claire Tomalin’s book and scripted by Abi Morgan, the film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Michelle Fairley and Joanna Scanlan. It opens on Christmas Day. Here’s the trailer:

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Sony Classics Acquires Paul Haggis’ ‘Third Person’

By | Thursday November 7, 2013 @ 2:24pm PST

NEW YORK (November 7, 2013) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired US, German and Scandinavian rights to Paul Haggis’ THIRD PERSON. Written and directed by Haggis, the film had its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and features an all-star cast including Academy Award®-nominee Liam Neeson, Academy Award®-winner Kim Basinger, Academy Award®-winner Adrien Brody, Academy Award®-nominee James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Mila Kunis, and Maria Bello. Michael Nozik of Hwy61 and Haggis produced the film along with Paul Breuls of Corsan, who also provided the financing. THIRD PERSON wends its way through three cities and three tales. The various stories, situated in Paris, Rome, and New York, are, at first glance, all separate, but Haggis effortlessly makes connections among them as the film unwinds, concentrating on three men and their romantic entanglements. Gradually, each one of these stories unveils its secrets, testifying to the whims and complexities of life. Surfaces are deceptive in the Haggis universe, but as each story is explored we discover untold pleasures and pains. Life is never easy: it can be deceptive, inhabited by anger and jealousy, but it can also be surprisingly joyous. Sony Pictures Classics, CAA and Paradigm negotiated the deal.

Related: Liam Neeson Among Those Lining Up For ‘Third Person’

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Hot Trailer: Indonesian Actioner ‘The Raid 2′

By | Wednesday November 6, 2013 @ 4:45pm PST

Sony Pictures Classics and Stage 6 Films have unleashed a teaser for Gareth Evans‘ Indonesian martial arts sequel The Raid 2: Berandal, which picks up hours after the events of the widely praised first film. In the sequel, Jakarta cop Rama (Iko Uwais) heads undercover to infiltrate a crime syndicate to protect his family and expose corruption in his own force. Writer-director Evans even brought back fan favorite Yayan Ruhian, AKA Mad Dog from the first pic, to play a different character alongside a line-up of new toughs. Buzz from the first Raid pic should drive solid genre interest ahead of this 2014 release. Check out the trailer:

Related: Sony Classics, Stage 6 Films To Release ‘The Raid 2′

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Sony Classics, Stage 6 Films To Release Indonesian Action Sequel ‘The Raid 2′

By | Tuesday November 5, 2013 @ 4:42pm PST

Sony Pictures Classics and Stage 6 Films will team up on U.S. distribution of martial arts actioner The Raid 2, the companies announced today. Helmer Gareth Evans made a splash with the first Raid pic, the 2011 Indonesian bone-cruncher The Raid: Redemption, which tracked a doomed squad of cops trapped in a concrete tenement filled with armed thugs. Evans returns to write and direct the sequel, which picks up after the events of the first film and follows cop hero Rama (Iko Uwais) undercover as he infiltrates a ruthless Jakarta crime ring.

Sony’s love affair with the Indonesian action franchise began two years ago at Cannes, where Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions snapped up U.S. distribution rights after screening partial footage. Read More »

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New Woody Allen Pic Titled ‘Magic In The Moonlight’

By | Tuesday October 15, 2013 @ 11:05am PDT

Woody Allen‘s movie titles certainly have that … Woody Allen vibe. His latest pic starring Emma Stone and Colin Firth and set in the South of France will be called Magic In The Moonlight, which evokes a certain other France-set Allen movie — Midnight In Paris. Sony Pictures Classics sure hopes so: that last SPC-distributed pic became Allen’s highest-grossing movie ever and landed four Oscar nominations, winning for Allen’s original script. Eileen Atkins, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney and Jacki Weaver star in the new film.

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Hot Trailer: Alex Gibney’s Lance Armstrong Docu ‘The Armstrong Lie’

Sony Classics has unveiled a trailer for Oscar-winner Alex Gibney‘s The Armstrong Lie, about cyclist Lance Armstrong’s comeback from cancer and subsequent doping scandal. Gibney inserts his own unusual perspective into the docu by chronicling the fibs Armstrong told him as he interviewed the athlete pre-scandal, as well as Armstrong’s own explanation of his deceit after the truth came out. The film opens November 8 in NY and LA:

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India Oscar Controversy: Film Body Demands Apology From ‘Lunchbox’ Helmer As Questions Linger Over ‘Good Road’ Pick

Ever since it debuted in Cannes and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox was largely considered the favorite to be submitted by India as the Foreign Language Oscar entry. But last week, the selection committee chose Gyan Correa’s The Good Road. In the intervening days, The Lunchbox filmmakers, local and international press and other pundits have decried the choice. The committee in turn demanded an apology from Lunchbox helmer Batra for “unsavoury comments” that crossed a boundary, it said in a long letter. Batra produced his mea culpas today, but also urged a rethink of the way films are chosen. Batra wrote, “I sincerely hope that the annual reactions to our Academy selections from the national press, and this year from even the international press, prompt a new policy for the selection. Sir, please use your good offices to give us a transparent, objective process with a public and not a secret jury. It is a direct and humble request, not a criticism.”

Related: India Oscar Pic ‘The Good Road’ Confounds
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Egypt Submits ‘Winter Of Discontent’ To Foreign Language Oscar Race; Iran Picks ‘The Past’ Amid Criticism

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 12:59am PDT

UPDATED: Egypt’s Winter Of Discontent has been selected by the Filmmakers Syndicate to compete for this year’s Foreign Language Oscar. Ibrahim El-Batout’s film screened in the Venice Horizons section in 2012 as well as at the Cario and Dubai Film Festivals. Set during the revolution of January 2011, it tells the interwoven stories of three men. Amr Waked, who’s had roles in Salmon Fishing In The Yemen and Syriana, stars and is a producer. He sat on the Venice Horizons jury this year despite what he said at the time were efforts to the contrary by the Muslim Brotherhood. Double Dutch International has sales on Winter. Egypt has never scored an Oscar nomination.

PREVIOUSLY: As expected, Asghar Farhadi‘s Le Passé (The Past) has been chosen by Iran to represent the country as this year’s Foreign Language Oscar submission. Farhadi won the prize in 2011 with A Separation, also representing Iran. Although that film was handled internationally by Paris-based Memento Films International, The Past was also produced, shot and financed in France. This has led to some criticism from the Fars News Agency, which is considered to be close to Iranian conservatives. According to AFP, Fars wrote after the decision, “Contrary to A Separation, there is nothing Iranian in … Read More »

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OSCARS: ‘Foxcatcher’ Becomes Latest Film To Drop Out Of This Year’s Race

Pete Hammond

Scratch off another potential Oscar contender. Sony Pictures Classics has announced the planned December release of the Bennett Miller-directed drama Foxcatcher has been moved out of this year’s awards race and into 2014 so filmmakers “can have more time to finish the film”. The announcement is a bit startling since AFI Fest, a prime showcase for major Oscar contenders, recently had announced it for a major world premiere berth on November 8. Obviously that will have to be replaced.

Related: SPC Moves Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’ To 2014

The film becomes the latest casualty this week in what is turning out to be a very competitive awards season. Earlier this week The Weinstein Company announced their expected contender Grace Of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman was being moved from November (after previously being scheduled for December) and on to its spring 2014 slate, effectively removing Kidman’s portrayal of Grace Kelly from the Best Actress race.
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SPC Moves Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’ To 2014

By | Thursday September 26, 2013 @ 7:15pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures Classics has moved the release of the Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher to 2014. They said the filmmaker needs more time to finish the film that stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. It was expected to be in the Oscar season mix with a December 20 release, helmed by the director of Moneyball. Foxcatcher is the true story of Olympic wrestling champion brothers Mark Schultz (Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Ruffalo) and their relationship with the eccentric John du Pont (Carell), heir to the du Pont chemical fortune that led to murder.

Related: ‘Foxcatcher’ Is Latest Film To Drop Out Of Oscar Race

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Toronto 2013: Will Deals Take Back Seat As Buyers Focus On Fest Oscar Hopefuls?

Mike Fleming

iThe Toronto Film Festival got underway last night with the Gala premiere of the Bill Condon-directed DreamWorks Julian Assange film The Fifth Estate. Today, the acquisitions market should get going with the first screening of the Jason Bateman-directed comedy Bad Words and Saturday’s premiere of Once helmer John Carney’s Can A Song Save Your Life?

Related: Toronto: Festival Dives Into WikiLeaks Controversy With Powerful ‘Fifth Estate’

Toronto has long served a dual role as a global platform to launch prestige films into the Oscar race, as well as a place where distributors can bolster slates with acquisitions of finished films that need someone to release them. The odd thing about this year’s marketplace: the biggest challenge facing sellers is to get the major buyers to focus, because they are so preoccupied with the films they are launching in the Oscar race from Toronto that dealmaking is a distant second on the priority level. Whether it’s The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight, CBS Films or Focus Features, everybody has a viable Oscar horse. Frankly, there is less early chit-chat about deal prospects than there is about how the end-of-year releases of Oscar corridor films will be as crowded and brutally competitive as the summer season that just passed. There are way more films platforming and playing through the winter than was the cast last year. Just as some worthy summer blockbusters underperformed because of the onslaught, upcoming prestige films will be under extreme pressure to perform.

Here, the major distributors that have the funds to create bidding battles have tons of product at Toronto. SPC’s Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have nine movies playing, and TWC’s Harvey Weinstein has six. The challenge facing sellers will be to get those buyers to wrap their arms around new product that will fill slate holes in 2014. Everybody is loaded for bear for the fall and early winter. This won’t be a replay of the times past, when films like Shame, The Wrestler and Rabbit Hole were acquired and launched from festivals right into Oscar season.

Related: Toronto 2013: How Did Last Year’s Films Do?
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Sony Classics Expanding ‘Blue Jasmine’

By | Wednesday August 21, 2013 @ 1:09pm PDT

The latest Woody Allen film will grow in screens from 229 to more than 1200 nationwide this weekend, the studio said today, making it Allen’s most widely released film surpassing 2011′s Midnight In Paris. Blue Jasmine has grossed $9.9 million since its platform release July 26, when it averaged $102K-plus in six theaters. It has been growing steadily since. It’s the last expansion for a Sony Pictures Classics film, after it boosted the run of Before Midnight following its strong debut in May.

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Sony Pictures Classics Catches Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’

By | Thursday August 15, 2013 @ 5:12pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures Classics’ Michael Barker and Tom Bernard just got themselves a strong awards season film. SPC, as expected, will release the Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher in North America Pic’s in post-production and will be released December 20. Megan Ellison financed it under her Annapurna Pictures. Scripted by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, the film stars Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Michael Hall. It’s the true and truly bizarre story of how Olympic Wrestling Champion brothers Mark Schultz (Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Ruffalo) forged a relationship with grappling fanatic and eccentric John du Pont (Carell), heir to the du Pont Chemical fortune. One of the brothers was murdered by the benefactor. Miller’s gotten Best Picture noms for Moneyball and Capote.

Said Miller: “I’ve been discussing Foxcatcher with Michael and Tom since I began researching the story in 2005 and it’s always been my hope and expectation that they would distribute the film. Their passion and understanding of what Fpxcatcher could be and their ability to market unique and complex films makes SPC the ideal home for me. They were great partners on Capote, and I’m thrilled to be back with SPC,” said Director Bennett Miller.

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Sony Pictures Classics Expands ‘Before Midnight’ Run

By | Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 5:50pm PDT

Sony Pictures Classics is bumping up the Richard Linklater relationship sequel after a fruitful two month run. The pic has taken in $7.7M domestic and $10.6M globally so far, besting box office grosses for predecessors Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Before Midnight stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy (who also both co-wrote) reprising their characters nearly twenty years after their first all-nighter meet cute. After an initial expansion that hit nearly 900 screens in May, Before Midnight‘s screen count decreased to 78 theaters by last week. Today SPC announced it’s once again expanding the pic’s run, this time to 226 screens. Meanwhile SPC’s other critical darling, Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine, is primed for a screen boost following its stellar debut last week. The film gave Allen the best per-screen average of the year and is generating Oscar buzz for star Cate Blanchett.

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