EXCLUSIVE: In a low-seven-figure minimum guarantee deal, FilmDistrict has acquired U.S. rights to Only God Forgives, a drama that will reteam Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn with Ryan Gosling. Several distributors were in the mix, but FilmDistrict’s Peter Schlessel had an edge because Refn was pleased with the way FilmDistrict’s Bob Berney has set up the marketing for Drive. That film, which stars Gosling as a stunt driver who moonlights as the wheel man for a heist crew, played the Cannes Film Festival and drew raves. It will be released Sept. 16. Funded by Wild Bunch, Only God Forgives will shoot in late summer in Thailand, with Gosling playing a guy on the run from British police. He runs a Thai boxing club in Bangkok that is a front for a drug-smuggling operation. He winds up getting in the ring for a shot at redemption. Buyers this week read a script and started making offers this week. Gosling is next starring for his Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance in A Place Beyond the Pines and he’s also starring with Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Anthony Mackie in the Ruben Fleischer-directed Gangster Squad for Warner Bros. He’s also set to star for Refn in a remake of Logan’s Run at Warner Bros, where he’ll next be seen starring with Steve Carell and Julianne Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
It is another acquisition for FilmDistrict, a division of GK Films formed to acquire and distribute films that can play in wide release on upwards of 2000 screens. The distributor came out of the gate with the sleeper horror hit Insidious, and has been on an acquisitions spree to line its first slates. That includes the acquisition of the Gabriele Muccino-directed Gerard Butler-starrer Playing the Field, the acquisition of the Chuck Russell-directed Liam Hemsworth-starrer Arabian Nights; the recently acquired Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis-starrer Looper; and the buy of Parker, the Taylor Hackford-directed action film that will star Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez. GK also placed with FilmDistrict Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut, the Bosnia-set drama In The Land Of Blood And Honey.