Distribution Deals

Carnahan

Joe Carnahan is a director whose work has improved at such a rapid pace, pretty much everyone was caught by surprise when his 2012 survival thriller The Grey ended up being as good as it was. Even fans who were enthusiastic about his previous work like Smokin’ Aces and A-Team weren’t ready for what a deep and affecting meditation on mortality and the mercilessness of nature that movie ended up being. And the studio suits certainly didn’t know what they had on their hands with The Grey. Despite the fact that it was good enough to end up on a whole bunch of critics’ end of the year lists for 2012, they released it in January when the crap that they’re not optimistic about generally gets dumped, and they mis-marketed it as some sort of exploitation film where Liam Neeson boxes a pack of wolves. Just imagine the awards potential it could have had if it was released in the fall and was effectively marketed as the powerful drama it proved itself to be. What’s the point of bringing all of this up? Well, it looks like Carnahan’s followup to The Grey—a  movie called Stretch that’s said to be a darkly comedic thriller—is also experiencing some problems thanks to the studio people who are supposed to be supporting it. So many problems that, at the moment, there isn’t even a solid plan to put it out anymore.

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Makinov

There are a lot of professions out there that might require a person to wear a mask: welder, murderer, Mexican professional wrestler. But one job that we don’t often think of as being held by hooded weirdos is film director. A mysterious figure from Belarus known only as Makinov is looking to change all of that, however. Despite the fact that Makinov appears in public only while wearing a creepy red bag over his head, and despite the fact that nobody really has any idea who he is, he was somehow able to make a horror movie called Come Out and Play and get it shown at TIFF. According to the festival’s synopsis, Come Out and Play is a movie about a young couple (Vinessa Shaw and Ebon Moss-Bachrach) looking to vacation on a beautiful island off the coast of Mexico. Unfortunately, things take a tragic turn when they discover that the island is populated solely by creepy children who want to murder them. Ain’t that always the easiest way to ruin a vacation?

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Robert Redford in The Company You Keep

The latest directorial effort from screen legend Robert Redford, The Company You Keep, was all set to make a big splash and impress distributors at the upcoming deal-making feeding grounds that are the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals, but a new development is making it look like the film’s screenings at those fests are going to come off as something of an afterthought. If you’ve got a used car that you need to get rid of, or maybe some old exercise equipment lying around that you’ve been thinking of putting on eBay, then maybe you should think of having Redford write the ad copy for you, because it seems that he’s something of a salesman. THR is reporting that the director, along with his fellow producers Nicolas Chartier and Bill Holderman, have already struck a deal with Sony Pictures Classics to handle all U.S. distributions rights for the film. Based on a book by Neil Gordon, The Company You Keep stars Redford himself as a former Weather Underground militant, wanted for bank robbery and murder, who gets exposed decades after his crimes by a meddling young reporter (as played by Shia LaBeouf).

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Amy Heckerling has been developing the habit of making movies about once a generation that perfectly encapsulates the zeitgeist of current youth culture. In the early ’80s, it was her film Fast Times at Ridgemont High that gave high school kids all over the world the idea to have pizzas delivered to their classrooms and made that one Cars song be forever linked with Phoebe Cates taking off her top. In the mid-’90s she brought us Clueless, which introduced the world to how cute Paul Rudd is when he sheepishly grins and finally asked a lost generation to pull up their pants and stop looking like trashballs. So now that it’s 2012 and Heckerling has written and directed a new film, you have to ask yourself if it’s going to be another one of those generation defining moments in movies, or if it’s just going to end up being another Look Who’s Talking? Her new project is called Vamps, and seeing as it’s a little late to cash in on the vampire crazy, its chances of becoming a big thing are already looking kind of dicey. That doesn’t mean it won’t be fun though, because it has a completely ridiculous cast, and a plot that sounds tailor-made for getting everyone’s girlfriends to squeal.

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In what’s sure to be polarizing news for people who fondly remember the 1984 Christmas-themed slasher film, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Variety is reporting that Anchor Bay has picked up the North American distribution rights to a remake of the film, which is set to begin shooting next month. If all goes according to plan, that means it should be hitting U.S. theaters this year, just in time for the holiday season. For those who may not remember, Silent Night, Deadly Night told the story of Billy, a young boy who was traumatized by the sight of watching his parents get killed by a guy in a Santa suit, so he grows up to be a murderous, psychopathic mall Santa himself. It’s basically like a reverse Batman, but with a charming Christmas theme and buckets full of gore.

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Recent times have been tough for once-unstoppable giant Netflix. The end of a deal with Starz that afforded them streaming rights to a bevy of films ended, leaving customers complaining about the dwindling selection of the Watch Instantly feature. A separation of the streaming service and the DVD by mail service created a huge price hike that saw customers canceling their accounts in record numbers. A creation of a new company called Quikster lead to the entire Internet pointing and laughing. It’s like those guys can’t catch a break! You know what they say though, “it’s always darkest before the dawn.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I think it’s fancy-speak for “just chill.” Netflix may not be doomed after all. As a matter of fact, the New York Times has recently broke the news that the company has just struck a new, very important deal with DreamWorks that will give them exclusive rights to a whole host of their films. That potentially means access to kids’ stuff like Antz, Shrek, and Kung Fu Panda, dramas like Almost Famous, A Beautiful Mind, and American Beauty, and comedies like Road Trip and Old School. This is quite a coup for a company that people have spent the last week predicting the death of. Normally exclusive rights to studio collections like this go to HBO, who has a whole warehouse of money to throw at studios, Scrooge McDuck style. Striking this new deal with Netflix over HBO has a couple […]

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Kevin Smith made a splash at the most recent Sundance Film Festival by holding a mock auction for his horror film Red State, buying the distribution rights himself, and then taking the movie on a tour around the country. The whole thing was some sort of statement about the inflated budgets films have to accrue in order to get distribution and advertising, and an experiment as to whether or not a filmmaker could turn a profit by just distributing a movie themselves. Smith took his reel of the film from theater to theater, screening it and holding Q&As afterward, and charging the people who showed up a premium for the service. That’s fine for Smith’s loyal fanbase, but what about the rest of us who might just have a passing interest in checking out the movie and aren’t willing to pay a hefty ticket price for the experience of seeing it with the director in the room? Now we’ve got an option coming our way as well.

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You’ve been on the edge of your seat wondering what movies out of Sundance you’d actually get to see. Well, now you know.

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Fox has beat out Paramount and Lionsgate for the chance to distribute a three-minute trailer.

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How much does it cost to purchase Ryan Reynolds in a coffin? Apparently somewhere between three and four million dollars.

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Jane Austen is a zombie hunter, Abraham Lincoln’s going after vampires. It was only a matter of time before the Bard got into the act.

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phillip-morris-header

One of my favorite films from this past year’s Sundance Film Festival, the Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor led comedy I Love You Phillip Morris, has finally found distribution this week.

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tokyozombie-1

FSR recently reported on two zombie flicks that are in the works—Graham-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the RKO remake of I Walked With a Zombie—but believe it or not, there’s more movie and DVD news about the walking dead!

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Larry David & Evan Rachel Wood

The U. S. rights to Woody Allen’s latest film Whatever Works have been bought by Sony Pictures Classics. The comedy is set in New York City. It’s a return to Allen’s old haunt after years of making films over seas.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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