Avi Lerner’s Millennium Entertainment is not known for giving its films an aggressive theatrical release. That’s because CEO Avi Lerner believes, conservatively, in the numbers. Less spending on theatrical is more. He prefers VOD and DVD. And who’s to say he’s wrong, unless you are dealing with a movie that needs careful handling, and with the right nurturing could thrive in art houses around the country? That Millennium will not do, unless they radically change their current M.O. New Millennium player Mark Gill is capable of orchestrating an effective release strategy for Oren Moverman’s 90s period Rampart, starring Woody Harrelson as an out-of-control L.A. cop who think that he is in control.. If Lerner lets him.
(Here’s my Q and A with Moverman.)
The press release is below.
Millennium Entertainment’s CEO Bill Lee announced today that the company has acquired U.S. rights to Oren Moverman’s critical smash RAMPART, which had its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. Millennium Entertainment will release the film theatrically this year with newly appointed Millenium Films’ Mark Gill consulting on the project. Moverman and acclaimed crime fiction writer James Ellroy wrote the screenplay, with Moverman directing a cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Robin Wright, Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi, Anne Heche, Cynthia Nixon, Ice Cube, Brie Larson, and Ned Beatty. The film is produced by Lawrence Inglee (Lightstream Pictures), Ben Foster, Clark Peterson and Ken Kao (Waypoint Entertainment). Paul Currie, Michael DeFranco, Garrett Kelleher and Lila Yacoub serve as executive producers. Sierra/Affinity is representing the international rights to the film, which have been sold to a majority of territories around the globe.
Officer Dave Brown (Harrelson) is a Vietnam vet and a Rampart Precinct cop, dedicated to doing “the people’s dirty work” and asserting his own code of justice, often blurring the lines between right and wrong to maintain his action-hero state of mind. When he gets caught on tape beating a suspect, he finds himself in a personal and emotional downward spiral as the consequences of his past sins and his refusal to change his ways in light of a department-wide corruption scandal seal his fate. Brown internalizes his fear, anguish and paranoia as his world, complete with two ex-wives who are sisters, two daughters, an aging mentor dispensing bad advice, investigators galore, and a series of seemingly random women, starts to unravel. In the end, what is left is a human being stripped of all his pretense, machismo, chauvinism, arrogance, sexism, homophobia, racism, aggression, misanthropy; but is it enough to redeem him as a man?
“Oren’s is one of the great new voices in American film,” stated Millennium Entertainment’s CEO Bill Lee. “In RAMPART, he has created a compelling, genre-bending picture that is not only a poignant look at one man’s fall, but also an exploration of the conflict that often lies between masculinity and redemption.”
“I first worked with Mark Gill back during his time at Warner Independent and have kept up a great relationship with him over the years,” said Moverman, who previously co-wrote and directed THE MESSENGER, and whose writing credits include I’M NOT THERE and JESUS’ SON. “I have the utmost confidence that the Millennium team will take RAMPART to great heights.” Moverman is repped by WME and NY Office.
Noted producers Inglee and Kao: “Bill Lee, Brooke Ford and Andy Gruenberg have an exciting new vision for distributing and marketing intelligent, groundbreaking cinema. They’ve shown tremendous passion for this project and we’re thrilled to have them on board.”
Vincent Scordino negotiated the deal on behalf of Millennium Entertainment. Alexis Garcia negotiated on behalf of WME Global.