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by Brian Brooks
September 21, 2011 4:32 AM
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Lionsgate Takes Toronto Titles "Friends" & "You're Next"

In a pair of acquisition announcements, Lionsgate said it picked up Toronto '11 titles "You're Next," in addition to "Friends With Kids," which the company announced previously.

Directed by Adam Wingard, "You're Next" is a horror film, which Lionsgate will handle U.S. and Canadian distribtuion rights. Jennifer Westfeldt's "Friends" will be released jointly with partner company Roadside Attractions, with Roadside spearheading domestic theatrical distribution and Lionsgate handling all other U.S. rights including home entertainment and television. "Friends" was picked up from Red Granite, which is also handling international sales.

Full acquisition releases follow:

"You're Next" Release:

LIONSGATE (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company, today announced that it has acquired U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to YOU'RE NEXT, following its screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival. The announcement was made jointly by Joe Drake, Lionsgate's co-COO and Motion Picture Group President, and Jason Constantine, President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions.

Directed by Adam Wingard from a script penned by Simon Barrett, YOU'RE NEXT is a petrifying horror story starring Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, A.J. Bowen, Nicholas Tucci and Barbara Crampton. Snoot Entertainment's Keith Calder and Jessica Wu produced the project with Simon Barrett and Kim Sherman. The film reunites the principal cast from Wingard and Barrett's shocking serial-killer thriller A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE, which screened at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

In YOU'RE NEXT, during a family reunion getaway, the Davison family comes under a sadistic attack. When Crispian Davison (Bowen) brings his new girlfriend (Vinson) along to celebrate the wedding anniversary of his parents (Moran and Crampton), the family's evening together is shattered when a gang of mysterious killers begin to hunt the family down with brutal precision. Unfortunately for the killers however, one of the victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.

Jason Constantine negotiated the deal on behalf of Lionsgate with Eda Kowan, SVP of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, and Wendy Jaffe, the Acquisitions and Co-Production team's EVP of Business & Legal Affairs. Snoot Entertainment is represented by CAA, who negotiated the sale on their behalf with Erik Hyman of Loeb & Loeb.

"This project represents everything that we look for in a horror film," explains Constantine of the company's decision to acquire the film. "It is a celebration of its genre, featuring top notch performances from a sophisticated script, brilliantly directed, that will leave audiences on the edge of their seats - when they're not jumping out of them." Added Drake, "Lionsgate has had much success in the horror space, particularly with truly creative, daring genre films such as this one that we are uniquely suited to market equally boldly. This film is a perfect example of Lionsgate sticking to our roots and continuing to speak to an audience of horror fans that we know and love."

"We are blown away by the passion the Lionsgate team has for our film, and are honored to be working with the finest horror franchise marketers and distributors in the world," added producer Keith Calder.


"Friends with Kids":

LIONSGATE (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company today announced the acquisition of Red Granite Pictures’ FRIENDS WITH KIDS, directed by Jennifer Westfeldt, following its debut screenings at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. The announcement was made jointly by Steve Beeks, Lionsgate’s President and co-COO, Joe Drake, co-COO and Motion Picture Group President, and Jason Constantine, President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions.

The release will be handled jointly by Lionsgate and partner company Roadside Attractions, similarly to past collaborations such as EVERYTHING MUST GO, and the upcoming MARGIN CALL, with Roadside Attractions spearheading domestic theatrical distribution and Lionsgate handling all other U.S. rights including home entertainment and television.

Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland’s Red Granite Pictures produced the film with Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm’s Points West Pictures, producer Jake Kasdan, and Locomotive, led by Joshua Astrachan and Lucy Barzun Donnelly. Red Granite is also handling international sales.

The film is Westfeldt’s directorial debut, following the two critically acclaimed independent films that she previously wrote and starred in, KISSING JESSICA STEIN and IRA & ABBY. FRIENDS WITH KIDS boasts an ensemble cast of beloved actors with palpable chemistry, many of whom have appeared onscreen together in previous collaborations: Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox and Edward Burns. The film was widely considered one to watch heading into the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, and was warmly received by critics and audiences alike upon screening there.

"I feel incredibly fortunate to be working with the great teams at Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions on the release of FRIENDS WITH KIDS,” said Westfeldt. “Their passion for the project and the subject matter, along with their commitment to finding a broad audience for our film, make them the dream partners for us."

Jason Constantine, Lionsgate’s President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, mirrored Westfeldt’s sentiments: “We are long time admirers of Jennifer, and this is an excellent directorial debut. She’s made a high concept comedy that thoroughly entertains as it explores one of this generation’s central quandaries, and everyone on the Lionsgate and Roadside teams who saw the film related to it not just as executives, but as parents or partners. This movie has comedy, heart and truth in equal measures, and it will be a delight to bring to audiences.”

Red Granite’s Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland stated, "The teams at Lionsgate and Roadside really understand this film and we couldn't be more excited to be in business with them. They are completely committed to the unique vision Jennifer Westfeldt has for FRIENDS WITH KIDS. We believed in Jennifer and this vision from the inception, and are very proud of the end product and happy to have worked alongside such a great team on our debut film.”

Constantine negotiated the deal on behalf of Lionsgate with Eda Kowan, SVP of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, and Wendy Jaffe, the Acquisitions and Co-Production team’s EVP of Business & Legal Affairs. Cinetic’s John Sloss and Jackie Eckhouse of Sloss Eckhouse LawCo negotiated the sale on behalf of the filmmakers. Jennifer Westfeldt is represented by Christian Donatelli and Courtney Kivowitz at The Schiff Company, Innovative and Lawrence Rose at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.

About The Film
FRIENDS WITH KIDS, written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt (KISSING JESSICA STEIN, IRA & ABBY), is a daring and poignant ensemble comedy about a close-knit circle of friends at that moment in life when children arrive and everything changes. The last two singles in the group - Westfeldt and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation, STEPBROTHERS), observe the effect that kids have had on their friends' relationships and wonder if there’s a better way. They decide to have a kid together - and date other people.

There are big laughs and unexpected emotional truths as this unconventional 'experiment' leads everyone in the group to question the nature of friendship, family and, finally, true love. The film stars Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox, and Edward Burns.

FRIENDS WITH KIDS is a Red Granite Pictures presentation of a Points West Pictures and Locomotive production. It was produced by Westfeldt with Jon Hamm, Joshua Astrachan, Jake Kasdan, Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland. Executive Producers are Mike Nichols, John Sloss, Lucy Barzun Donnelly and Joe Gatta.

About Lionsgate
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution and new channel platforms. The Company has built a strong television presence in production of prime time cable and broadcast network series, distribution and syndication of programming through Debmar-Mercury and an array of channel assets. Lionsgate currently has 15 shows on more than 10 networks spanning its prime time production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as "Mad Men", "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie" along with the comedy "Blue Mountain State, " the upcoming drama "Boss" and the syndication successes "Tyler Perry's House Of Payne", its spinoff "Meet The Browns", the upcoming "For Better or Worse," "The Wendy Williams Show" and "Are We There Yet?"

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