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Cannes Pickups: Open Road Lands 'The Killer Elite'; Millenium Flies With 'Little Birds'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist May 11, 2011 at 3:45AM

Buyers are very busy at the Cannes Film Festival already in what is proving to be much healthier marketplace compared to last year.
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Buyers are very busy at the Cannes Film Festival already in what is proving to be much healthier marketplace compared to last year.

The biggest news of the day (so far) is that new distribution shingle Open Road -- launched by theater chains AMC and Regal -- has made their first deal and it's pretty "killer" (sorry, we had to). They've picked up the star-studded "The Killer Elite" featuring Robert De Niro, Jason Statham and Clive Owen. While we're still wrapping our brains around the pairing of De Niro and Statham, the premise of the pic sounds intriguing and we'll be watching if only to see Owen in the role of a villain. Here's the synopsis:

Inspired by true events, Killer Elite is an action adventure spy film following Danny (Jason Statham), one of the world's most skilled special-ops agents. Lured out of self-imposed exile to execute a near-impossible feat of retribution and personal salvation, Danny reassembles his old team of operatives to help rescue his former mentor (Robert DeNiro), and to penetrate the highly feared and respected military unit, the British Special Air Service (SAS). Facing off against a covert group of ex-SAS soldiers known as “The Feather Men,” who, under their leader Spike (Clive Owen), provide a deadly cloak of security around all SAS members, Danny and his team must take down a rogue cell of solider assassins before their actions result in a global political meltdown.

Open Road will be releasing the film this fall although one has to wonder what Lionsgate might do as they recently slated their Statham film, "Safe," for an October 28th release. Even for the most die hard of fans, that's gotta be too much Statham to handle in one season, so we'll see if anyone blinks.

Meanwhile, Sundance pic "Little Birds" has found a distributor all the way over in France, as Millenium Entertainment has snagged the film. Directed by Elgin St. James and starring Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker, Kate Bosworth and Leslie Mann, the story follows two young girls living in a dead-end town who try to escape their boring lives by running away to Los Angeles with a group of charismatic street kids. The story takes inspiration from James' own life with the writer-director himself living on the streets as a youth and going on to form Boston straight-edge group, FSU, who would rob drug dealers and donate to local charities among other deeds.

The film is being prepped for a fall release but with St. James currently serving ten months in prison, it remains to be seen if he'll be released in time to do promo for his own flick.

This article is related to: Films, The Killer Elite, Little Birds


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