As you'd probably expect for a film like this, international sales have been brisk, as the sales company representing the film, Metro International Entertainment, previously sold UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand rights to Biyi Bandele's Half Of A Yellow Sun - a film adaptation of celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Orange Prize-winning novel of the same name.
Last fall, Metro revealed that it was fielding "multiple offers" from USA distributors, and we expected a Stateside pickup would be imminent. That was in November.
Skip ahead a couple of months to news today that Monterey Media (a company I'm unfamiliar with) has picked up USA distribution rights to Half Of A Yellow Sun, in a deal that was negotiated by Metro International’s Natalie Brenner and Monterey Media’s Scott Mansfield.
Monterey is eyeing an early summer theatrical release for the film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, to mixed reviews (read Zeba's critique HERE).
So it finally finds a USA home. Although I'm very curious to learn what other USA distributors were chasing the film, as reported last November, and what tipped the scales in Monterey's favor.
I did some research on the company to learn that its library isn't full of films that most of you would be familiar - maybe it's most recognizable recent work is the drama Between Us, which was featured on this site last year. It stars Taye Diggs, Julia Stiles, Melissa George and David Harbour, in an adaptation of a 2004 Off-Broadway play written by Joe Hortua, and directed by Dan Mirvish.
They also released another Chiwetel Ejiofor film - End Game, the 2009 South Africa-set political thriller in which Ejiofor played Thabo Mbeki. William Hurt co-starred.
The long-awaited, much-anticipated Half Of A Yellow Sun is now in their care; now we wait and see how the film's release is handled. If anything, an Oscar win for Chiwetel would certainly boost interested in the film. But that's a big "if."
Biyi Bandele's feature film directorial debut, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, John Boyega, Anika Noni Rose, Joseph Mawle and Genevieve Nnaji, in a drama that weaves together the lives of four people swept up in the turbulence of civil war, with a newly independent 1960s Nigeria as the backdrop.
Produced by Bafta award-winner Andrea Calderwood (The Last King of Scotland) and Gail Ega (The Constant Gardner), the film is a British/Nigerian co-production and was shot at Tinapa Film Studio in Nigeria and in the UK.