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by Jay A. Fernandez
September 4, 2012 4:04 PM
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What Does It Mean That Megan Ellison's Annapurna PIctures Picked Up U.S. Distribution Rights to Harmony Korine's 'Spring Breakers?'

Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures made a surprise move Tuesday when it bought U.S. distribution rights to Harmony Korine’s new film “Spring Breakers” ahead of its world premiere in competition at the Venice Film Festival Wednesday, September 5. To date known only as a production and financing entity, Annapurna has no distribution infrastructure and merely states in its news release that “additional distribution information will be revealed at a later date.”

During Cannes, Ellison launched an international sales division called Panorama Media, but French outfit Kinology already reps “Spring Breakers” overseas.

READ MORE: TIFF List 2012: A Complete List of All Films at the Toronto International Film Festival

The story of four college-age women who get involved with a local thug after their plan to rob a fast-food shack to fund their spring break adventure goes awry, “Spring Breakers” will have its North American premiere in Toronto September 7. Written and directed by Korine, the film has preemptive youth appeal off a cast that features James Franco and tween-stars-grown-up Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens in edgy crime-comedy terrain.

Muse Prods.’ Chris Hanley produced the film along with Jordan Gertner, David Zander and Charles-Marie Anthonioz. Ellison picks up an executive producer credit.

CAA and Radar Pictures’ Ted Field (also an exec producer on the film) negotiated the deal with Annapurna.

READ MORE: You're Invited: Indiewire Talks to Kristin Wiig, Brian DePalma, Gael Garcia Bernal, Xavier Dolan and More in Toronto

A relatively new enterprise, Annapurna has provided backing for a number of high-profile auteur-driven projects that hit screens this year, including Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” John Hillcoat’s “Lawless,” Andrew Dominik’s “Killing Them Softly” and Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” The company also has Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmasters” and new films from Spike Jonze, Bennett Miller and David O. Russell in the works.

While distribution has yet to become a part of Ellison’s ambitious entertainment empire, she has the financial capital to enter the field, and Korine’s relatively modest effort could serve as a low-risk test should she decide to move in that direction. The indie-film industry could always use another strong player in the distribution game, especially if the woman at the wheel not only has deep pockets but also seems determined to back the work of filmmakers devoted to creating original content unsullied by corporate endeavor.

A more likely scenario is that Ellison merely flips the rights to another U.S. distributor or partners with one on a limited release, depending on how the film plays at the two festivals.

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13 Comments

  • Alexia Tessier | August 26, 2013 8:59 AMReply

    The movie Fifty shades
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  • Laura | October 25, 2012 6:16 AMReply

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  • boblawlaw | October 18, 2012 5:19 PMReply

    your picture for this article made me cum all over my stomach. How do you propose to rectify this?

  • rob | October 8, 2012 2:22 AMReply

    All films look very interesting,

  • Diablo135 | October 7, 2012 12:43 PMReply

    Good for her. She's taking risks on movies that typically wouldn't get made or financed because there aren't explosions in them. I don't care where she gets the money. She's helping mostly no names.

  • Geoffrey Altrocchi | October 1, 2012 2:59 AMReply

    This is interesting to get the back story on everything, I just know that they have been promoting this movie so intensely by posting vidoe of Vanessa Hudgens in her bikini on youtube. I know that that has been a big draw for this movie! www.cinegeoffs.blogspot.com

  • Chris Holland | September 21, 2012 5:21 PMReply

    What does it mean? It means you're thinking too much. Someone saw an opportunity to make money. Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong.

  • Bes | September 11, 2012 2:15 AMReply

    I don't find anything appealing about this film. Do you think they can attract enough old men to make money?

  • Andy | September 5, 2012 9:51 AMReply

    What does it mean? It means she's got oodles of money. The fact that there have been and will be people with money who want to get into the movie business, bodes well for us who make a living working on movies.

    What't the best way to make a million dollars in the movie business? Start with two million.

  • Diablo135 | October 7, 2012 12:46 PM

    Deluca - lemme guess. If only you had a rich daddy you could make movies too. The screenplay you have been working on for 7 years isn't quite done but if only you had money. It's always someone else's fault with you.

  • DaLuca | September 6, 2012 12:26 PM

    Or start with over a billion and access to Daddy's billions as well. Her father is third richest in America, sixth in the world.

  • kat | September 4, 2012 4:35 PMReply

    or they're going to handle theatrical (or at least financing the kind they were shopping) and use a more established company to service that and the digital, vod platform. just a hunch.

  • kat | September 4, 2012 4:14 PMReply

    she'll likely use one of the other guys as a service provider or go in "partnership" with. probably weren't getting desired number and figured a title like this vod value is super high so why surrender it. rumors were floating in cannes, though, for some high demands contractually for the us sale.