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Overture Ups Ante

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 17, 2009 at 7:11AM

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.)
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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.


This article is related to: Indies, Independents, Box Office, Overture


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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.