EXCLUSIVE: After the dark comedy Cake set tongues wagging at Toronto about Jennifer Aniston’s performance, there has been speculation that the film’s makers would capitalize on that momentum by putting the movie out before year’s end to qualify for Oscar consideration. Cinelou Films’ producers Mark Canton and Courtney Solomon have launched a new prestige arm in Cinelou Releasing, and they have set Cake as their first film. The pic will have a one-week qualifying run in December before rolling out in January. Canton, Kristin Hahn and Ben Barnz produced with Solomon.
“When my life and producing partner Ben Barnz and I first read Cake just fourteen months ago, we knew we had to go to Jennifer Aniston. It was the most obvious un-obvious choice – she’s mega-talented, but we’ve never seen the whole range of her extraordinary comic and dramatic abilities showcased in one role,” said director/EP Daniel Barnz.
Cinelou Releasing will launch up to four films over the next year, and you can belatedly add this to all of the rising distribution companies that made statement transactions at Toronto. The label has a deal with Warner Bros. Pictures to handle international distribution for six of its films over the next three years. “We congratulate Mark Canton and Courtney Solomon on their new company,” said Warner Bros. International Distribution president Veronika Kwan Vandenberg. “We look forward to our upcoming international collaborations with them beginning next year with Cake.”
Cake was also the first Cinelou project financed and produced under its $100 million financing pact with Taiwanese-based Shenghua Entertainment. The Patrick Tobin script made the Black List and the film is directed by Daniel Barnz and also stars Anna Kendrick, Adriana Barraza, Sam Worthington, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Chris Messina, and Britt Robertson. Aniston plays Claire Bennett, who initiates a dubious relationship with a widower (Worthington) while confronting fantastical hallucinations of his dead wife (Kendrick). With her feisty housekeeper and caretaker (Barraza) ever at her side, Claire searches for human connection and self-forgiveness in this tale of redemption.
“Having a U.S. distribution arm was always part of our strategy to be in control of the creative, marketing and financial results of our films,” said Solomon. “We were very pleased with how Cake turned out and are excited about all the opportunities the film presents on multiple levels…Cinelou was formed to produce brave, bold and interesting films that both challenge and showcase talent.”
Said Canton: “We’re very proud and excited that our new distribution banner will allow Cake to be released with the same passion and commitment that went into making the film.”
CAA-repped Aniston is about to open in Horrible Bosses 2. Brillstein Entertainment Partners manages her.