HBO Films Taps Fine Line for “American Splendor” Theatrical Release
by Eugene Hernandez
In a deal that will no doubt surprise industry insiders, HBO Films has announced a pact to release the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “American Splendor” in a partnership with Fine Line Features. Buzz during Sundance had HBO working with Newmarket on the release, but in a stroke of corporate synergy, Fine Line, the specialty division of AOL Time Warner’s New Line Cinema, will handle the release of the high-profile film. HBO is the crown jewel of the AOL Time Warner empire.
HBO will release the original production under the HBO Films banner, in association with Fine Line. The film, written and directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, stars Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis and was produced by Ted Hope. HBO Films was expected to work with Newmarket given the partnership between the two companies on the release of “Real Women Have Curves,” which has earned nearly $6 million so far.
“We’re delighted to be in business with Bob Shaye, Michael Lynne, Mark Ordesky, Russell Schwartz and the entire New Line and Fine Line team,” commented HBO’s Colin Callender in a prepared statement. “They share our passion for Harvey Pekar’s story; and we look forward to working together with them to bring ‘American Splendor’ to the big screen.”
Told with a healthy dose of doc footage and animation, “American Splendor” is a dramatic film that illustrates the life of mopey everyman Harvey Pekar, creator of the “American Splendor” comic book. It is the final film produced under the Good Machine banner.
Robert Pulcini and Shari Berman are making “Family Planning” at New Line and are developing a project on the “imposter/restauranteur” Michael Romanoff. Their previous projects include the documentaries “Off The Menu: The Last Days of Chasens” and “The Young And The Dead.”