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“American Psycho” Shift; Pathe Picks “Pi,” Castle Hill Acquisitions, ZIA Deals

"American Psycho" Shift; Pathe Picks "Pi," Castle Hill Acquisitions, ZIA Deals

Hill Acquisitions, ZIA Deals

Compiled by Laura MacDonald and Eugene Hernandez

>> Harron In, DiCaprio Out of “American Psycho”

A summer long drama has come to end with today’s report by Thom Geier in
the Hollywood Reporter that despite a high-profile announcement at the
1998 Cannes Film Festival, Leonardo DiCaprio is officially out of the
Lions Gate film, “American Psycho.” According to the Hollywood trade,
DiCaprio’s exit clears the way for filmmaker Mary Harron (“I Shot Andy
Warhol”) to return to the project. Harron co-wrote the film’s script
with Guinever Turner (“Go Fish”) and left the project when DiCaprio
jumped on board for a reported $21 million salary. Geier writes that
two weeks ago DiCaprio, James Woods, and Jared Leto participated in a
script reading for director Oliver Stone in Los Angeles. The Reporter
indicates that the reason for Lions Gate’s change of plans is the
inability to lock in DiCaprio for a solid start date. DiCaprio is set
to start Danny Boyle’s “The Beach” in January.

>> “Pi” Grabbed for UK Release

As the 52nd Edinburgh Film Festival enters it’s second week, the big
acquisiton news is that “Pi“, written and directed by Darren Aronofsky,
has been picked up by Pathe for UK distribution. Nick Hill from Pathe feels
that, “‘Pi’ is the most unique and innovative American independent film for
many years. We’re very excited at the prospect of working with these
talented filmmakers.” The film, which debuted at the 1998 Sundance
Film Festival before being acquired for domestic distribution by
Artisan, has already passed the million-dollar mark at the U.S.

[An additional report from Edinburgh will be published tomorrow in indieWIRE.]

>> Castle Hill Picks Up Four and Promotes One

Castle Hill has picked up four films and promoted an executive as part of
an increase in focus on theatrical distribution, the Hollywood Reporter
reports today. According to the Hollywood trade publication, Michael
Winter has been promoted to VP of Creative Affairs and Acquisitions and
Castle Hill has acquired Steven Shainberg’s “Hit Me,” Mary Cybulski and
John Tintori ‘s “Chicago Cab,” Eric Dilling’s “River Red,” and Adam Berman’s
documentary, “Biker Dreams.” Castle Hill’s president, Mel Maron, told the
Reporter that the company plans to release 8 to 10 films per year. Recent
releases include “Little Boy Blue,” “Eye of God,” and “Insomnia,” according
to the trade.

>> Zia Enters Film/TV/Video Pacts

On the occasion of its fifth anniversary, ZIA Film Distribution has announced
a pair of deals. Company partners Bobbi Valentine and Douglas M. Heller
announced recently that ZIA has secured the worldwide theatrical, broadcast
and video rights to David Straus’ “Whiskey, Riddles & Dandelion Wine,” as well
as the domestic broadcast and video rights to “About us: The Dignity of
,” a television special hosted by Oprah Winfrey. Additionally, the
company has signed a pact with Steeplechase Entertainment to handle retail
video distribution. The TV special will be distributed on video through
the Steeplechase deal, following in the footsteps of the partnership’s
previous release, “Cat on A Hot Tim Roof,” starring Jessica Lange and Tommy
Lee Jones.

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