Magnet Acquire Bobcat Godthwaite's 'God Bless' America,' Cohen Media Group Take 'The Awakening'

by Benjamin Wright
September 14, 2011 3:30 AM
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Plus Sony Pictures Classics Buy Jonathan Demme's 'Neil Young Life'



While TIFF continues for a few more days in The Great White North, acquisitions of films are now heating up what was being called a slow buying season for studios, with a steady drip of purchases continuing in the last 24 hours.

First up, following right on the heels of their acquisition of the TIFF-approved Seann William Scott-starring “Goon,” Deadline is reporting that Mark Cuban’s Magnolia Pictures has picked up the dark comedy “God Bless America,” and will release it through their Magnet genre label. Directed by comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, who also helmed the similarly cynical “World’s Greatest Dad,” the film follows a directionless individual who decides to go on a killing spree with his 16-year old accomplice when he finds out he may be terminally ill. Like many of Magnet's projects, the film is set to start in VOD territory in 2012, before a theatrical release in a minimum of 25 cities.

Variety has the details on Cohen Media Group’s acquisition of the Rebecca Hall-starring “The Awakening.” StudioCanal sold the film, which also features Dominic West. Set in 1921, it follows Hall’s character as her disbelief in the supernatural is challenged once she visits an all-male boarding school. The film will be released in November in the U.K., with no definitive U.S. release mentioned. Harold Van Lier, head of international sales at StudioCanal seems to have faith in the film, stating that "It's a strong theatrical film but will also have a strong ancillary value with VOD." So it looks like VOD is the popular buzz word for TIFF acquisitions of smaller, less marketable films.

Sony Pictures Classics has been boasting quite the roster of films lately, with the likes of the David Cronenberg-directed “A Dangerous Method” and Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” already set to impress this fall. The studio adds to that notable lineup with the recently acquired Jonathan Demme-helmed documentary “Neil Young Life.” The film will show Neil Young playing at the Massey Hall in his hometown of Toronto. Don’t forget that Sony Pictures Classics was also behind the release of “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest,” a Playlist favorite this summer, so it seems they have a knack for acquiring solid music docs.

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