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New AMC/Regal Distrib Open Road to Release Killer Elite September 23

by Anne Thompson
June 8, 2011 6:00 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

As Cinedigm's Chris McGurk advocates a partnership rather than adversary relationship between distributors and exhibitors, by sharing in the back-end of movies that hit VOD in advance of the usual 90-day ancillary window, dominant theater chains AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment's fledgling distributor Open Road Films is testing the question of whether there's an inherent conflict in theaters owning their own distribution arm. They are calling Open Road "acquisition-based," and thus their first major release (which they insist is not a remake), Killer Elite, was financed by Omnilab Media (Oliver Stone's W) and produced through Omnilab’s Australian production arm, Ambience Entertainment. Inferno Entertainment handled worldwide sales.

Open Road, with Tom Ortenberg at the helm and ex-Weinstein Co. vet Liz Biber running publicity, will release Killer Elite in theaters on September 23. The action thriller, inspired by the true story told in Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ novel The Feather Men, stars action-reliable Jason Statham (who is on my stars-who-open-movies list) as a special ops agent lured out of retirement to rescue his mentor (Robert De Niro). That requires killing three canny assassins led by Clive Owen.

It will be tough to match the original 1975 Sam Peckinpah actioner based on Robert Rostand's Monkey in the Middle, starring Godfather's James Caan as a mercenary who is shot and crippled by his one-time partner Robert Duvall, and then seeks revenge. UPDATE: Is it technically a remake if it's based on a different telling of the same true story? The two plots do sound quite different.


  • Brian | June 8, 2011 7:56 AMReply

    In trying to find info about the original novel by Rostand, I came up with this link:

    The description provided sounds a little closer to the description of the new film than my memory of Peckinpah's film does. So maybe there IS a common source. I'd be interested in knowing more, if possible, about the relation of Rostand's novel to Fiennes' novel. And if they're based on the same incidents or something.

  • Anne Thompson | June 8, 2011 6:52 AMReply

    Interesting question--if it's based on a different version of the same true story, and another movie with the same title predates it, isn't it really a remake? They aren't using the title "The Feather Men," they're calling it "Killer Elite," presumably because they 1) want to trade on a pre-established title and 2) have acquired rights to different underlying material. How close is the story to the movie is the question.

    I have neither read the script nor seen the new film. But just because they claim that it is not a remake does not necessarily mean that it is so.

  • JR | June 8, 2011 6:38 AMReply

    Definitely not a remake.

  • star jonestown | June 8, 2011 6:25 AMReply

    what's more, it's well known that it's not a remake, and I believe that the fact that it's not a remake was in the press release at Cannes.

  • star jonestown | June 8, 2011 6:20 AMReply

    It's not a remake.


  • Brian | June 8, 2011 6:15 AMReply

    Peckinpah's KILLER ELITE (1975) was based on a novel by Robert Rostand called "Monkey in the Middle." The new KILLER ELITE is based on a completely different book by a completely different author with a somewhat different plot. So, if I'm not missing anything, it's not a remake. Am I missing something?

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