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Film Acquisition Rundown: Focus Features Picks Up ‘Tully,’ Electric Entertainment Buys ‘LBJ’ and More

Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of what's been picked up around the globe.



Castle Rock Entertainment

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 Rundown here.

Focus Features has acquired the North American and select international rights to Jason Reitman’s “Tully.” Written by Diablo Cody, the comedy stars Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass and Ron Livingston.

“Tully” tells the story of Marlo (Theron), a mother of three who is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Duplass). Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Davis). The film will premiere in U.S. theaters on April 20, 2018.

READ MORE: Film Acquisition Rundown: Oscilloscope Picks Up ‘November,’ The Orchard Buys ‘Flower’ and More

– Electric Entertainment has acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to Rob Reiner’s “LBJ,” starring Woody Harrelson in the role of the bombastic 36th President. The film also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Richard Jenkins, Bill Pullman, Jeffrey Donovan and Michael Stahl-David, and was produced by Reiner, Matthew George, Liz Glotzer, Trevor White and Tim White.

“Rob Reiner is one of the great American directors; together with Woody Harrelson’s mesmerizing performance, they have created an incredible portrait of the 36th President,” George said in a statement. “LBJ” had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is set for a theatrical release in 2017.

– Gravitas Ventures has acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to “Dave Made A Maze,” which won the Audience Award for “Best Narrative” at the Slamdance Film Festival. The offbeat comedy starring Nick Thune takes viewers on a wild and whimsical ride, merging fantasy with reality from the confines of a living room chock-full of cut-up cardboard boxes.

Dave (Thune), is an artist who has yet to complete anything significant in his career and builds a fort in his living room out of pure frustration, only to wind up trapped by the fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and critters of his own creation. Meera Rohit Kumbhani, James Urbaniak, Stephanie Allynne and Kirsten Vangsness co-star. Dave Made a Maze will make its theatrical and on demand debut on August 18.

– Atlas Distribution has acquired the theatrical rights to “Absolutely Anything,” Deadline reports. The film stars Simon Pegg and Robin Williams as the voice of his dog, Dennis. “Absolutely Anything” was written by Monty Python’s Terry Jones and Gavin Scott 20 years ago, and directed by Jones.

The movie centers on a teacher (Pegg) who’s able to conjure “absolutely anything” after aliens bestow special powers on him. Kate Beckinsale and Eddie Izzard co-star, with alien characters voiced by John Cleese and Terry Gilliam. Atlas plans to release the movie on May 12.

– Kino Lorber has acquired the North American rights to “The Challenge,” Yuri Ancarani’s acclaimed documentary focusing on a group of super-wealthy, Qatari sheikhs who moonlight as amateur falconers. “The Challenge” offers a rare window into a group of ultra-privileged men who spare no expense in the pursuit of their own idiosyncratic wishes.

“The Challenge”

Kino Lorber

The film is scheduled for an exclusive New York engagement starting September 8, 2017, before expanding nationwide during the fall. A VOD and home media release is scheduled for 2018. “The Challenge” premiered last August at the Locarno Film Festival and won the Special Jury Award at the festival’s Cineasti del Presente section. In 2017, the film played at True/False, SXSW, New Directors/New Films and HotDocs.

– Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired the North American rights to Ben Milliken’s slasher mystery “Lake Alice,” starring Brando Eaton. The film co-stars Eileen Dietz, Peter O’Brien, Caroline Tudor, Brad Schmidt, Laura Niemi and Michael Shamus Wiles. Written by Stevie Jane Miller and directed by Ben Milliken, “Lake Alice” held its world premiere at the IndieLounge.

The film follows Ryan Emerson (Schmidt) who, while meeting his girlfriend Sarah’s (Tudor) family for the first time, must prove his intentions and win the approval of her father, Greg (O’Brien), while he masks his jealousy for Sarah’s ex-fling, Tyler (Eaton). As the Thomas family settles in, things start to happen around the cabin; strange footprints by the windows, noises from outside, and a bitter animosity from the locals. Breaking Glass will release the film on DVD and all major North American TVOD platforms on July 18, 2017.

– Slamdance Presents, the distribution arm of the Slamdance Film Festival, has acquired four award-winning feature films that premiered at the fest. The films continue Slamdance Presents’ commitment to creating innovative distribution and exhibition opportunities for independent filmmakers.

Mark Jackson’s “Without” is an unsettling erotic drama inspired by tragic real-life suicides of LGBTQ youth. Jai Love’s debut documentary “Dead Hands Dig Deep” is the haunting story of shock metal extremist Edwin Borsheim’s descent into isolation and insanity. “The Ground We Won” is Christopher Pryor and Miriam Smith’s vérité study of manhood as observed through the rites and rituals of a rural rugby club. Paul Taylor’s dialogue-free drama “Driftwood” won the festival’s Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature.

– Epic Pictures Releasing has acquired the North American rights to “Last Rampage,”a true-crime thriller starring Robert Patrick, Heather Graham and Bruce Davison, Deadline reports. The film was directed by Dwight Little and written by James W. Clarke and Álvaro Rodríguez. Epic will release the film on September 22.

– Freestyle Digital Media has acquired the rights to “The Wedding Invitation,” written and directed by Rainy Kerwin and starring Kerwin, Eoin Macken, Camille Guaty and Christina Ulloa. A last minute invitation to an 80’s prom-themed wedding puts three best friends in a desperate tailspin to land dates. Their mission, splattered with drunken-dry-heaving walk-of-shame moments, will require them to lay it all on the line for love. Freestyle is releasing the film on June 6.

– Wolfe Releasing has acquired director Stephen Cone’s “Princess Cyd,” starring Rebecca Spence and Jessie Pinnick, for a theatrical and digital release later this year. The Chicago-set coming-of-age drama had its World Premiere at the 2017 Maryland Film Festival on Thursday, May 4 and will also screen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinemaFest in June.

“Princess Cyd”

Wolfe Releasing

“Princess Cyd” follows 16-year-old athlete Cyd Loughlin (Pinnick) while visiting her novelist aunt (Spence) in Chicago over the summer. Eager to escape life with her depressive single father, Cyd falls for a girl in the neighborhood, while she and her aunt gently challenge each other in the realms of sex and spirit.

– Screen Media Films has acquired the North American and U.K. rights to Brad Epstein’s comedy “Ripped,” starring Russell Peters, Faizon Love, Alex Meneses, and Bridger Zadina. The film will be released in theaters and VOD day-and- date on June 23.

“Ripped” is a hilarious comedy that tells the story of two free-spirited stoners Harris (Russell Peters) and Reeves (Faizon Love) who – after smoking some top-secret pot created by the CIA in 1986 – find themselves catapulted into 2016. 30 years of their lives have been lost, but not their uncomplicated enthusiasm for getting their lives back on track and figuring out the modern world they find themselves living in.

READ MORE: Film Acquisition Rundown: The Orchard Picks Up ‘Thelma,’ Samuel Goldwyn Films Buys ‘Gook’ and More

– Monterey Media has acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to “I Am Battle Comic,” from director Jordan Brady, the director of “I Am Comic” and “I Am Road Comic.” Funny, heartfelt and in so many ways, important, the film features interviews with George Lopez, Tammy Pescatelli, Dave Attell, Wayne Federman and George Wallace and chronicles the journey of comedians Slade Ham, Bob Kubota, Jeff Capri and Don Barnhart as they brave the frontlines of the Middle East performing for our U.S. Troops.

Judd Apatow calls the film “An excellent heartfelt film that pays tribute to our troops…and the comedians who travel the world to make them laugh.” Monterey plans to begin widespread distribution of the Digital/DVD/VOD release on August 8 following the Purple Heart Day, in honor of our women and men who serve in all arenas of military service.

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