New York, NY – November 7, 2012 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today they have acquired rights for the US, Canada, United Kingdom, and Italy from Hanway Films KON-TIKI. The film, which tells the real-life adventure of Thor Heyerdahl’s world-famous seafaring voyage, is the official Oscar® entry of Norway for Best Foreign Language Film. KON-TIKI is directed by Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg, with a script by Petter Skavlan. The film had its US premiere this week at AFI Fest.
KON-TIKI opened to huge numbers in Norway in August, and the box office is continuing to climb past $13.4 million as it holds strong in theaters. TWC plans to release the English language version of the film in 2013.
In the true story of KON-TIKI, a dangerous seafaring adventure, six men sail from Peru to Polynesia risking their lives for an idea that could change history. Thor Heyerdahl (Hagen) – a restless spirit, along with five loyal buddies, follow an ancient path 4,300 miles across the Pacific on the fragile raft. Attacked by tidal waves, sharks and all the dangers the Ocean can muster, it’s six men battling with nature as Kon-Tiki strives to reach land. Having sacrificed everything for his mission, even his marriage, Thor must succeed.
The cast includes Pål Sverre Hagen as Thor, who attracted much critical acclaim during the North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Odd-Magnus Williamson, Tobias Santelmann, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Jakob Oftebro and Gustaf Skarsgård. Heyerdahl’s book Kon-Tiki has sold over 70 million copies worldwide in 67 languages, and his documentary on the voyage won an Academy Award® for Best Documentary in 1951.
“We are extremely honored to be bringing this epic story to audiences everywhere,” said Harvey Weinstein. “Roenning and Sandberg have really captured a special story, portrayed through incredible performances from the cast. We couldn’t be happier to be working with Hanway Films for this project.”
“I am delighted to see our vision for the film shared by The Weinstein Company who have many great ideas for the release of the film,” said Producer Jeremy Thomas.
KON-TIKI was produced by Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company with Aage Aaberge on behalf of Nordisk Film. Thomas’ HanWay Films are handling worldwide sales. The development of the film was supported by the Stenersen family of Oslo, the publishers of many of Thor Heyerdahl’s books, who were one of the key investors in the film. Executive-producers include Lone Korslund of Nordisk Film, and Dario Suter, Christoph Daniel and Marc Schmidheiney of DCM Productions, who also hold German rights.
Directing team Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg began making videos together in their native Oslo. Forming their commercial and music video company Roenberg in 1993, and their production house Motion Blur in 2002, their extensive work in Scandinavia led to international campaigns for Airbus, Nintendo, Coca Cola and Nokia, and their award-winning Superbowl spot for Budweiser. Their 2008 war drama Max Manus has become the highest grossing Norwegian film ever.
The deal was negotiated by TWC COO David Glasser, President of Acquisitions Mark Gooder, and Negeen Yazdi Senior VP acquisitions with Thorsten Schumacher, MD of HanWay Films.