EXCLUSIVE: With a cast that includes Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones and Maria Bello, the corporate downsizing drama was one of the highest profile films to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last January. Now The Weinstein Company has acquired U.S. distribution rights to The Company Men, the John Wells-directed drama. TWC made a mid-7 figure P&A commitment to support a significant theatrical release for a film that is likely to reach theaters in late summer or early fall. This completes the third Sundance acquisition for Harvey Weinstein, who also acquired the Derek Cianfrance-directed Blue Valentine with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams starring as a couple in a disintegrating marriage, and Amir Bar-Lev-directed documentary The Pat Tillman Story, which told the story of the slain football star-turned Army ranger from the vantage point of his parents and brothers, who watched the government cover up the circumstances of his death by fratricide. TWC is separately in discussions to acquire distribution rights to the Swedish film Easy Money, which debuted at Berlin and has a swarm of producers chasing remake rights.
Wells, who is president of the Writers Guild, is rumored to have at least partially financed his feature directing debut, which he wrote and produced. He took his time finding a home for the picture. Weinstein, who came to the post-premiere party, and TWC execs David Glasser and Peter Lawson have been in dialogue with Wells and his CAA reps since the festival finished, I’m told. The picture, about a group of well-paid sales execs left reeling after a layoff, was well received at the festival, though I’d heard that interested executives were also giving Wells tips to hone the picture. IM Global’s Stuart Ford pre-sold much of the offshore territories before Sundance.
The acquisitions sets up the TWC release slate to look like this: The Concert, a comedy that stars Inglorious Basterd’s Melanie Laurent, will open in limited release July 16; The Tillman Story opens August 20 in limited release; The Company Men likely follows next, with a release date yet to be finalized; Nowhere Boy, which stars Kick-Ass’s Aaron Johnson in a drama that looks at the pre-Beatles life of John Lennon, opens October 8; the Tom Hooper-directed The King’s Speech opens November 26 in limited release with Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush and Guy Pearce; Blue Valentine will open in an Oscar-qualifying limited release Dec. 31 to exploit awards, caliber performances by Gosling and Williams.
TWC confirmed the Wells deal.
“I am thrilled to be in business with John Wells and my old friend Ben Affleck,” Harvey Weinstein said. “John has put together a tremendous cast to tell this timely story and I look forward to bringing it to audiences.”