Life Itself
Magnolia Pictures "Life Itself"

Magnolia Pictures has acquired U.S. distribution rights, VOD and home entertainment rights to "Life Itself," the documentary based on Roger Ebert's autobiography which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Directed by Steve James ("Hoop Dreams"), the film was previously acquired by CNN Films for broadcast. Magnolia said they are considering a summer release, followed by an exclusive broadcast on CNN later this year, a similar release strategy as the one the two companies collaborated on for the successful release of  "Blackfish" last year.

"Roger Ebert gets the tribute he deserves with 'Life Itself,'" Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles said in a statement. "Steve James has done a beautiful job capturing Roger's complexity and energy in a loving but wonderfully clear-eyed portrait."

READ MORE: Roger Ebert's Widow Reveals That the Critic Wanted Philip Seymour Hoffman to Play Him in a Film

James said, "Magnolia is the perfect partner for bringing this film on such a seminal figure in film to the big screen. Roger's story deserves it."

"Life Itself" was produced by Zak Piper for Kartemquin Films and Garrett Basch for Film Rites, with executive producers Martin Scorsese, Steve Zaillian, Michael W. Ferro Jr., Justine Nagan and Gordon Quinn of Kartemquin Films, Kat White of KatLei Productions, Mark Mitten, and Vinnie Malhotra and Amy Entelis of CNN Films. The deal was negotiated for Magnolia by SVP of Acquisitions Dori Begley with Cinetic Media on behalf of Kartemquin, Film Rites, KatLei and CNN Films.