At the 2014 Sundance FF, the art of a deal
Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion's film "Cooties" played in the Midnight section at Sundance and was acquired by Lionsgate. The horror-comedy stars Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson, Leigh Whannel, and Jack McBrayer. Variety has the story. Elijah is also a producer on the film and Anne Thompson at Indiewire caught up with him and fellow producers at SpectreVision on Main Street in perfect Sundnace-style.
With "God's Pocket," the directorial debut by John Slattery that stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, and John Turturro, the internatinoal rights for the film were acquired by Dean Deviln's Electric Entertainment. Jay Cohen at Gersh negotiated the deal along with Marc H. Simon of Cowan DeBeets Abrahams and Rebecca Rising and Ari Haas at Electric. Deadline Hollywood has the story, which also includes details about the US rights going to IFC Films.
And if Nazi zombies are your thing, then watch out for "Dead Snow; Red Vs. Dead" when Well Go USA releases the film later this year. The sequel to the 2009 indie hit stars Martin Starr, Vegar Hoel, Ingrid Haas, Stig Frode Henricksen, Jocelyn DeBoer and Orjan Gamst. The Hollywood Reporter has the story about the acquition out of Park City. And Entertainment Weekly took some portraits of the cast in town.
In theaters on January 31st - Maggie Kiley's BRIGHTEST STAR
Fresh out of college, a young man (Chris Lowell) is left devastated when the girl of his dreams (Rose McIver) dumps him. Refusing to move on, he devises a plan to transform himself into the man she desires. After resigning himself to working for the head of a company in corporate mediocrity (Clark Gregg), he falls for a hipster songstress (Jessica Szohr) who likes him as he is. As his path continues to unfold unexpectedly, the counsel of a kindred spirit astronomer (Allison Janney) helps him understand how to truly carve out a place in the universe.
GoDigital and Variance Films Merge to form Amplify Releasing
GoDigital, Inc. and Variance Films are merging and will rebrand as Amplify, a new all-rights film distribution company, it was announced today by GoDigital CEO Logan Mulvey and Variance Films President Dylan Marchetti.Marchetti will serve as Amplify's Executive Vice President of Theatrical Distribution & Marketing and will join Kent Sanderson in Amplify's New York City office. Sanderson was recently brought on to serve as Executive Vice President of Distribution & Merchandising from Focus Features. Mulvey will function as Amplify's CEO, overseeing operations and administration, and will work directly with Marchetti and Sanderson to lead the merged company.
Amplify plans to release seven to ten films per year across all platforms, with an emphasis on matching quality films with the proper release strategy on a film-by-film basis, whether that be a day and date, traditional, or completely non-traditional pattern. Amplify will be attending the upcoming Sundance Film Festival in a full acquisitions capacity.
Variance and GoDigital will continue to exist as individual brands under Amplify, with Variance partnering directly with filmmakers to release the most exciting independent and foreign films, and GoDigital remaining a major player in the digital distribution space. Marchetti will lead the Variance Films business unit with Sanderson overseeing the core digital distribution business of GoDigital.
For more information, The Wrap has the story.
In theaters on March 21st - A BIRDER'S GUIDE TO EVERYTHING
Focus World, the alternative distribution initiative owned and operated by Focus Features, and Screen Media Films have partnered for a third time on U.S. distribution rights to a feature film, acquiring the U.S. rights to A Birder’s Guide to Everything, which made its debut at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and was a crowd favorite.
David Portnoy (Kodi Smit-McPhee of Let Me In and Focus’ ParaNorman), a 15-year-old birding fanatic, embarks on an epic road trip with a ragtag crew that includes a legendary ornithologist (Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley) to solidify a place in birding history. A Birder’s Guide to Everything marks the feature directorial debut of Rob Meyer and is written by Academy Award winner Luke Matheny and Mr. Meyer. Also in the cast are Katie Chang (The Bling Ring) and Spirit Award nominee James Le Gros.
Gravitas Ventures hires Dustin Smith to head new theatrical division
On the eve of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Nolan Gallagher, founder and CEO of Gravitas Ventures, announced the launch of Gravitas Theatrical, a new initiative that will intensify the company’s focus on theatrical release campaigns.
To head this new division, Gravitas has named Dustin Smith as Vice President of Theatrical Distribution. Smith joins Gravitas following almost a decade at Roadside Attractions where he most recently served as VP, Acquisitions & Business Affairs. While at Roadside, Smith oversaw the acquisition and release of four-time Academy Award nominee WINTER'S BONE, and also worked on such releases as ALL IS LOST, STORIES WE TELL, MUD and Academy Award winner THE COVE.
In his new role Dustin will primarily be responsible for developing the distribution and marketing strategy for Gravitas’ theatrical releases, booking films with the global exhibition community, and attending film festivals and advising on acquisitions. Dustin will report to Michael Murphy, President of Gravitas..
The first Gravitas Theatrical film slated for release is Matthew Saville's thriller FELONY starring Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Zero Dark Thirty), two time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson (In The Bedroom, Michael Clayton), Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard) and Melissa George (The Good Wife), based on a script by Edgerton. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and Gravitas plans a late summer theatrical release across North America.
Indiewire has the story.
In theaters on April 18th - AUTHORS ANONYMOUS
Screen Media Films and Starz Digital Media, the digital distribution unit of Starz, have partnered to acquire all North American rights to Ellie Kanner’s comedy AUTHORS ANONYMOUS, which stars Kaley Cuoco, Chris Klein, Jonathan Bennett, Dylan Walsh, Teri Polo, and Dennis Farina, in one of his last roles.
AUTHORS ANONYMOUS is about a dysfunctional group of unpublished writers. When they accept Hannah (Kaley Cuoco) into their fold, the last thing they expect is her overnight success. Can these lovable misfits achieve their artistic dreams and avoid killing one another in the process?