CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures have partnered to acquire U.S. rights to director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s U.S. documentary competition film “Blackfish.” Magnolia will open the film in theaters over the summer, and CNN will air the doc on TV later in the year.
The film looks into the four-decade history of killer whales kept in captivity and the tragic deaths that have occurred as a result. The Sundance Film Festival entry first screened Saturday night at the Temple Theatre. Cowperthaite and Manuel Oteyza produced; Judy Bart, Erica Kahn and Rick Brookwell are executive producers.
“‘Blackfish’ is one of the most exciting, compulsively watchable documentaries that we’ve seen in a long time,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. “Gabriela Cowperthwaite has made a beautiful, eye-opening film that sticks with audiences for a long time.”
Magnolia exec Dori Begley and CNN’s Vinnie Malhotra negotiated the deal with Josh Braun, David Koh and Dan Braun of Submarine.
Magnolia released the 2012 Sundance doc “The Queen of Versailles” last summer.
Earlier in the week, CNN Films announced three documentaries it would release, including a Roger Ebert biography.