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Film Acquisition Rundown, Week of April 4: ‘Death Note’ Goes to Netflix, MUBI Grabs Many and More

Film Acquisition Rundown, Week of April 4: 'Death Note' Goes to Netflix, MUBI Grabs Many and More

Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of everything that’s been picked up around the globe. Check out last week’s Film Acquisition Rundown to find out what films got new homes and are coming to a theater or streaming platform near you.

– Netflix is getting into the Adam Wingard business. The online outfit is reportedly in final negotiations to pick up the horror maestro’s newest film, “Death Note,” based on the Japanese manga about a student who finds a so-called supernatural notebook that kills people. Well, sort of. All he has to do for the killing to commence is write a victim’s name in said cursed notebook. Kablooey! Nat Wolff and Margaret Qualley are set to star in the feature. The film was originally at Warner Bros., but has reportedly been picked up by Netflix after the studio was unable to get the project moving. The film is expected to start filming in June. The news was first reported by The Wrap.
– Samuel Goldwyn films has picked up the North American rights to Ted Balaker’s “Can We Take a Joke?” The DOC NYC premiere “offers a thought-provoking and wry exploration of outrage culture through the lens of stand-up comedy detailing its stifling impact on comedy and free speech.  The film is narrated by comedienne Christina Pazsitzky and includes interviews with Gilbert Gottfried, Penn Jillette, Lisa Lampanelli, Adam Carolla, Jim Norton and Heather McDonald.” Of the news, Peter Goldwyn, President of Samuel Goldwyn Films, commented, “We at Samuel Goldwyn Films are outraged that the outrage has gotten this far and are thrilled to work with Ted Balaker on his eye-opening and profound film on how free speech is under siege, not just in the comedic world but in all facets of life.” The distributor is planning a limited theatrical release in late summer, followed by a wider digital release.
– Ahead of its world premiere at this month’s Tribeca Film Festival, RLJ Entertainment has acquired all U.S. rights to the baseball drama “The Phenom.” Written and directed by Noah Buschel (“The Missing Person,” “Glass Chin”), the film stars Ethan Hawke, Paul Giamatti, Johnny Simmons and Sophie Kennedy Clark. The film follows Simmons as the eponymous phenom, a Major League rookie pitcher who gets sent back to the minor leagues, where he has to figure out both his baseball game and his personal life in order to succeed. RLJE plans to release the film in theaters and On Demand on June 24. The film will have its world premiere at Tribeca on April 17. 

– Strand Releasing has acquired all U.S. rights to Andre Techine’s “Being 17,” which recently had its world premiere recently at the Berlin International Film Festival in competition. The film is “set against the beautiful mountains of the Pyrenees [and}…tracks the burgeoning and complex relationship of two young men, Damien and Thomas, both 17 year old classmates who start off as enemies, but as Damien’s mother forces them to build a friendship, other feelings begin to develop between the two.” This is the fifth Techine film that Strand has released. Strand Releasing is planning for a late fall release.

– Premium online streaming platform MUBI has picked up a number of new festival favorites to distribute both theatrically and digitally. First up, MUBI has secured theatrical and digital rights for Tomas Weinreb and Petr Kazda’s Berlinale Panorama opener, “I, Olga” in the UK and Ireland and will premiere the film in cinemas and on the service before summer 2016. The service has also picked up rights for the U.S., the UK and Ireland for Rachel Lang’s “Baden Baden” and UK and Ireland rights for Eugène Green’s “Son of Joseph.” They will both premiere in cinemas and on the service later this year. MUBI has also grabbed global digital rights to Luis Lopez-Carrasco’s experimental “El Futuro” and “Suenan Los Androides.” Finally, the service also picked up digital rights to Mathieu Amalric’s “The Blue Room.” The film will be introduced to the service later this year as a UK/IRE premiere.

– Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Federico Veiroj’s critically acclaimed deadpan comedy “The Apostate.” The film premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 and went on to play San Sebastian Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, and Miami International Film Festival. The film follows Tamayo, who “knows he needs to change the person he has become under the pressure of his parents’ expectations. His opposition manifests itself in the increasingly quixotic quest of formally having his name struck from the Catholic church’s baptismal record. But finding his own path is very hard and as a first step, it seems helpful to turn his feelings into words.” Breaking Glass is planning a theatrical release for this fall.

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