Magnolia Pictures has announced a deal for U.S. rights to Christopher Smith‘s “Severance,” a film the company first saw at the recent Marche du Film in Cannes. Magnolia closed the deal for the horror-comedy with HanWay Films. The pact marks the second Cannes deal closed by the company, following its acquisition of English-language rights to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho‘s “The Host,” an acclaimed Directors’ Fortnight entry at the festival.
“Severance” stars Danny Dyer and Laura Harris in the story of, “international arms dealer Palisade Defence (which) rewards its six-member sales division with a weekend team-building retreat in the mountains of Eastern Europe.” As Magnolia described in an announcement, “However, the agenda for their trip quickly changes when the group finds themselves set upon by a renegade band of war-crazed soldiers seeking revenge. Forced to defend themselves, the group of corporate execs finds that while ‘there’s no I in team’, there are a couple in ‘kill or be killed.'”
On the heels of the deal for “The Host,” the company seems particularly excited about the acquisition of another genre title aimed at a wider audience and poised to capitalize on the company’s new home video unit. Magnolia saw the film for the first time in Cannes, along with a number of other buyers and is understood to be eyeing an early 2007 release in the U.S., following fall festival screenings of the film.
“Severance had me alternately laughing my ass off and gripping the seat handles in suspense,” said Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles in a statement. “It’s a fantastically entertaining mix of corporate comedy and slasher film–kind of like Dilbert meets Freddie.”
The deal was negotiated by Magnolia’s Bowles and company head of acquisitions Tom Quinn, head of business and legal affairs Jason Janego and Hanway CEO Tim Haslam and director of sales Alex Walton. Produced by N1 European Film Produktions and Dan Films, the movie is a Qwerty Films and UK Film Council presentation, in association with The Isle of Man Film Commission.
HanWay sold the movie to a number of territories at the Marche du Film, including France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Canada, as well as in Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Pathe will release the film in the UK at the end of August.