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Overture Ups Ante

by Anne Thompson
June 17, 2009 7:11 AM
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As Overture Films lines up their 2009/2010 slate--hoping for a breakout--Wednesday they announced development of Celeste & Jesse Forever, a divorce rom-com co-written by and co-starring Rashida Jones (I Love You Man, Parks and Recreation) and Will McCormack (Must Love Dogs, Syriana). Team Todd (Austin Powers, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland) is producing. (It's odd that Overture announced without a director in place.)

Overture CEO Chris McGurk and COO Danny Rosett have slated for release: Sundance screenwriting award-winner Paper Heart, starring Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera (August 7); horror-thriller Pandorum, starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster (September 4); and the untitled Michael Moore Wall Street greed expose (October 2). Set for the first quarter is the F. Gary Gray thriller Law Abiding Citizen, starring Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler.

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The company recently acquired The Men Who Stare at Goats, a war satire starring George Clooney, Kevin Spacey and Ewan McGregor, which is in post-production and not yet dated, and pre-bought Ron Nyswaner and Catherine Hardwicke's contemporary remake of Shakespeare's Hamlet, starring Emile Hirsch, which is casting.

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Of these titles, the Michael Moore and Law Abiding Citizen boast the most potential to become breakout hits. So far, DeNiro/Pacino thriller Righteous Kill is Overture's biggest grosser at $40-million. Espionage thriller Traitor and heist comedy Mad Money grossed $24 million and $21 million, respectively. Rom-com Last Chance Harvey scored $20 million worldwide. Art-house acquisitions The Visitor and Sunshine Cleaning fared modestly well. But Sleepwalking, Nothing but the Holidays and Henry Poole Is Here lost money.

This is not an embarrassing track record. With Starz and homevideo, all these pics generated more numbers. What McGurk and Rosett need is a breakout like Twilight.


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More: Indies, Independents, Box Office, Overture

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