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Pre-Sundance, Magnolia and Paramount Scoop Up Joe Swanberg's 'Happy Christmas'

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! January 16, 2014 at 2:20PM

Ahead of the film's Sundance premiere this weekend, Magnolia Pictures and Paramount Pictures have announced a collaboration to bring director Joe Swanberg's new comedy "Happy Christmas" to theaters in 2014.
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"Happy Christmas"
"Happy Christmas"

Ahead of the film's Sundance premiere this weekend, Magnolia Pictures and Paramount Pictures have announced a collaboration to bring director Joe Swanberg's new comedy "Happy Christmas" to theaters in 2014.

Starring Swanberg, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham (on the cover of Vogue next month) and Anna Kendrick -- who Swanberg directed in last year's "Drinking Buddies" -- "Happy Christmas" centers on twenty-something siblings in Chicago whose quiet lives are rocked by a few surprise holiday visitors.

The modest success of "Drinking Buddies," also from Magnolia, as well as his typically warm improvisational style, have moved Swanberg out of the mumblecore pigeonhole and onto the map of must-see festival hits. "Happy Christmas" will be Swanberg's 16th directorial effort. 

Magnolia Pictures is handling U.S. theatrical and VOD distribution, while Paramount Home Media Distribution will handle U.S. physical home entertainment and all international rights. They're eyeing a summer 2014 release.

Notably, Swanberg directed an episode of the upcoming Bay Area-based series "Looking," which premieres this Sunday on HBO. "Happy Christmas" made our column CINE-LIST's most anticipated films in the Sundance lineup. More details about the film here.

This article is related to: Joe Swanberg, Joe Swanberg, Happy Christmas, Sundance Film Festival, Acquisitions, Magnolia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Lena Dunham, Lena Dunham, Anna Kendrick


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.