Film Acquisition Rundown: The Orchard Buys ‘Kings,’ Lionsgate Acquires ‘Dragged Across Concrete,’ 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.
Halle Berry Daniel Craig
Halle Berry and Daniel Craig

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.

– The Orchard has acquired the rights to “Kings,” the drama starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig and directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Deadline reports. The film focuses on a foster family in South Central a few weeks before the city erupts in violence following the verdict of the Rodney King trial in 1992.

Ergüven previously directed “Mustang,” which received an Oscar nomination in 2015 for Best Foreign Language Film. Charles Gilbert and Vincent Maraval served as the producers on “Kings.”

READ MORE: Film Acquisition Rundown: IFC Films Picks up ‘Sweet Virginia,’ Oscilloscope Buys ‘Song of Granite’ and More

– Lionsgate has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to the crime-thriller “Dragged Across Concrete” The film will be released by the Company’s Summit Entertainment label and stars Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn. Written and directed by S. Craig Zahler, “Dragged Across Concrete” tells the story of two police detectives who find themselves suspended when a video of their strong-arm tactics is leaked to the media. With little money and no options, the embittered policemen descend into the criminal underworld and find more than they wanted waiting in the shadows.

“We are delighted to be working again with Mel Gibson who helmed our double Oscar winner ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ along with Vince Vaughn and the great production team behind this film,” Lionsgate president of acquisitions and co-productions Jason Constantine said in a statement.

– Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired U.S. rights to Elvira Lind’s award-winning documentary, “Bobbi Jene.” The film follows American dancer Bobbi Jene, who decided to leave behind her prominent position at the world-famous Batsheva Dance Company after a decade of stardom in Israel to return to the U.S. and create her own boundary breaking performances.

“Bobbi Jene” premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won awards for Best Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature and Best Editing in a Documentary Feature. Oscilloscope plans to open the film theatrically later this year.

“Bobbi Jene”Oscilloscope Laboratories

“Elvira has crafted a film that is so much more than the logline would lead you to believe,” Oscilloccope president Dan Berger said in  statement. “The closeness and intimacy she achieves easily transcends Bobbi Jene’s personal story beyond that of just a dancer. It’s a human story with universal relatability that I have no doubt will move anyone who sees it.”

– Annapurna will co-produce and co-finance award-winning filmmaker Jacques Audiard’s “The Sisters Brothers,” Audiard’s first English-language movie. The company also holds the domestic distribution rights for the film. Why Not Productions will co-produce and co-finance alongside Annapurna with Page 114 also on board as producers. John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Riz Ahmed are set to star in the noir Western, written by Audiard and Thomas Bidegain, with production scheduled to begin this summer.

Based on Patrick deWitt’s acclaimed novel of the same name, “The Sisters Brothers” follows two brothers — Eli and Charlie Sisters — who are hired to kill a prospector who has stolen from their boss. The story, a genre-hybrid with comedic elements, takes place in Oregon in 1851. The film marks Audiard’s follow-up to his Palme d’Or winning “Dheepan,” which premiered at Cannes in 2015.

– FilmRise has acquired the North American distribution rights to Marc Meyers’ drama “My Friend Dahmer,” with a theatrical release slated for the fall of 2017. The film is the haunting, sad, funny, true story of Jeffrey Dahmer in high school, based on Derf Backderf’s celebrated graphic novel and Meyers’s own Black List script. Dahmer murdered seventeen men and boys in the Midwest United States between 1978 and 1991 before being captured and incarcerated. This is the story before that story.

“My Friend Dahmer”FilmRise

“Marc has created a haunting, heartbreaking, and totally unexpected exploration of one of the most notorious figures in American crime history,” FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher said in a statement. “We are beyond thrilled to bring this powerful film – and Ross Lynch’s incredible performance as Dahmer – to audiences in the fall.”

– The Orchard has acquired the worldwide rights to director Archie Borders’ forthcoming film “Under the Eiffel Tower.” Written by Borders and David Henry, the film stars Emmy-nominee Matt Walsh, Cesar Award-winner Judith Godrèche, Ary Abittan, David Wain, Gary Cole, Ryan Eggold and Michaela Watkins.

“Under the Eiffel Tower” centers on a bourbon salesman (Walsh) who unexpectedly proposes and is rejected by his best friend’s 24-year-old daughter under the Eiffel Tower. The soul crushing event sparks a wine-fueled ‘coming of middle age’ jaunt across the French countryside, a surprising friendship with a local footballer (Eggold) and sparks romantic possibilities with a beautiful and independent French woman (Godrèche).

“’Under the Eiffel Tower’ represents the perfect combination of France, wine and a stellar ensemble cast,” said Paul Davidson, The Orchard’s EVP, Film and Television. “We are thrilled to be working with Archie, Judith, Matt, Stacey and the rest of the team to bring this endearing comedy to audiences. The Orchard is targeting a 2018 release for the film.

– Open Road Films has acquired the U.S. rights to the animated family comedy “Duck Duck Goose.” Featuring the voices of Jim Gaffigan, Zendaya and Lance Lim, “Duck Duck Goose” is directed by Christopher Jenkins, written by Jenkins and Rob Muir, and produced by Penney Finkelman Cox and Sandra Rabins. The film follows a high-flying bachelor goose named Peng (Gaffigan) who is injured in flight and finds himself saddled with two adorably hilarious and demanding ducklings (Zendaya and Lim), on a long journey south.

“In addition to being a wholly original story filled with lovably funny and relatable characters that the entire family will enjoy, the animation in “Duck Duck Goose” is truly superb and the project is a welcome addition to our 2018 slate,” Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg said in a statement. The company will release the film on April 20, 2018. The movie also features the voices of Greg Proops, Natasha Leggero, Reggie Watts, Diedrich Bader, Jennifer Grey, Rick Overton, Craig Ferguson, Stephen Fry and Carl Reiner.

– Eleven Arts has acquired the North American rights to Yoshinari Nishikori’s award-winning period action-drama “Tatara Samurai.” The company has set a June 2 theatrical release for the film, which is produced by Exile Hero. “Tatara Samurai” is the latest feature from visionary director Yoshinari Nishikori, whose films, “Konshin” and “Railways” were box office smashes in their native Japan. His latest historic epic stars Sho Aoyagi, pop star Naoki Kobayashi, Tomoko Tabata, and Anna Ishii.

The film follows Gosuke (Aoyagi), a young villager in Sengoku Period Japan, is trained to be a blacksmith, but forced to become a warrior. After joining the Oda Army to protect his hometown of Tatara, he begins to question whether swords are a viable defense against the new technology of firearms – but soon discovers that his skill as a blacksmith might very well be the most powerful weapon he has to protect his home.

– Saban Films has acquired the U.S. rights to Brian Smrz’s thriller “24 Hours to Live,” Deadline reports. The film stars Ethan Hawke and Chinese actress Xu Qing and will be released theatrically later this year. “24 Hours to Live” was written by Zachary Dean, based on an original screenplay from Ron Mita and Jim McClain. The film centers on a career assassin who goes out on his own when an assignment goes awry. Paul Anderson, Liam Cunningham and Rutger Hauer co-star.

– Focus Features has acquired the documentary “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word.” Written and directed by three-time Academy Award nominee Wim Wenders, the film is only the second co-production that the Vatican has made with outside filmmakers and the first in which a Pope addresses the audience directly, discussing topics such as ecology, immigration, consumerism, and social justice. In “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word,” the Pope responds to questions submitted from around the globe. Exclusive footage from the Vatican’s archive shows the Pope on journeys, sharing his ideas and ideals in different parts of the world.

“Whenever I think of Wenders’ poetics I see before me the angels that feature in Wings of Desire and Faraway, So Close! They are angels that, though perfectly pertinent to both the biblical and literary worlds, have very little in common with the devotional stereotype,” Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication of the Holy See, said in a statement. “Wenders is aware that it is how we view the world that makes it pure or impure: a burden of responsibility we are constantly aware of when watching his documentary works.”

– Cinema Guild has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Jérôme Reybaud’s fiction feature debut “4 Days in France.” The film premiered at last year’s Venice Critics’ Week and made its U.S. debut at New Directors/New Films in March. “4 Days in France” will open at the Quad Cinema in New York in August.

“4 Days in France” is a sly and sophisticated take on gay romance in the 21st century. On a seemingly ordinary night in Paris, Pierre snaps a few photos of his lover Paul’s sleeping body and takes off into the early morning light. Where he’s headed neither of them know. Pierre’s only guide is his Grindr app, which leads him on a series of encounters with an indelible cast of characters across the stunning French countryside. Paul sets out after him, using his own phone to track Pierre’s movements in a strange and wonderful game of Grindr cat-and-mouse.

– Shout! Factory has tapped Funimation Films as its theatrical partner to jointly launch the acclaimed animated feature “In This Corner of the World” across U.S. cinemas on Friday, August 11, 2017. Based on the Japanese award-winning manga by Fumiyo Kouno, the film is written and directed by Sunao Katabuchi and recently won the coveted Animation of the Year award at this year’s 40th Japan Academy Prize and has been selected to premiere in competition at the LA Film Festival in June.

The movie follows a young lady named Suzu Urano, who in 1944 moves to the small town of Kure in Hiroshima to live with her husband’s family. Suzu’s life is thrown into chaos when her town is bombed during World War II. Her perseverance and courage underpin this heart-warming and inspirational tale of the everyday challenges faced by the Japanese in the midst of a violent, war-torn country.

Good Deed Entertainment announced has acquired the North American rights to the award-winning, contemporary musical, “American Folk,” formerly titled “September 12th.” Directed by first time filmmaker David Heinz, the film made its world premiere in competition at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival earlier this year.

Filmed over 3,500 miles in 14 states, musicians Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth star as two strangers, both folk musicians, whose fates become intertwined after their plane is grounded in California following the September 11th attacks. Both desperately needing to get back to New York, they embark on a cross-country journey in a 1972 Chevy Van. Along the way, the duo finds solace in their mutual love of classic folk songs, and raising their voices with everyday people they meet on the road.

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

– IFC Films has acquired the U.S. rights to Trudie Styler’s directorial debut, “Freak Show.” Based on the critically acclaimed novel of the same name by James St.James, the film stars Alex Lawther, Abigail Breslin, Bette Midler, AnnaSophia Robb, Ian Nelson and Laverne Cox. The film is set for release in early 2018.

“Freak Show” tells the story of Billy Bloom, a fabulous, funny, cross-dressing teenager and new student at the ultra-conservative Eisenhower High, where the Bible Belles and Football Heroes have never seen anyone like him. Despite peer pressure and the worst that the bullies can dish out, Billy is determined not to change his outlandish outfits or behavior, taking a stand for outcasts and underdogs everywhere and running for homecoming queen.

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