EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features has acquired North American rights to Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette, starring Meryl Streep (Into The Woods), Carey Mulligan (Far From The Madding Crowd) and Helena Bonham Carter (Cinderella). Focus has also acquired rights for Latin America, India, South Korea, and most of Eastern Europe including Russia. Universal Pictures International will release the film in those territories. Pathe is handling international sales.
Focus is readying the film, inspired by the early 20th century campaign by the suffragettes for the right of women to vote, for a fall domestic release later this year. The subject matter is both timely and potentially awards-season friendly. The film had a lot of positive buzz around it following buyers’ screenings in the U.S. and London this past week.
The story follows Maud (Mulligan), a working wife and mother who comes to realize that she must fight for her dignity both at home and in her workplace. Realizing she is not alone, she becomes an activist alongside other brave women from all walks of life. The early efforts at resistance were passive, but as the women faced increasingly aggressive police action, the suffragettes become galvanized — risking their very lives to ensure that women’s rights would be recognized and respected.
Also in the cast is Ben Whishaw (Skyfall), Anne-Marie Duff (Before I Go To Sleep) and Brendan Gleeson (Calvary).
Ruby Films’ Alison Owen (Elizabeth) and Faye Ward (The Other Boleyn Girl) are producers. Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady) wrote the screenplay. Cameron McCracken, Tessa Ross, Rose Garnett, Nik Bower, James Schamus, and Teresa Moneo are all on board as exec producers. Suffragette is a Ruby Films production for Focus Features, Pathé, Film4, and the BFI in association with Ingenious Media and with the participation of Canal+ and Cine-Cinema.
The deal was negotiated by Focus Features’ Beth Lemberger, EVP Business Affairs, and Lia Buman, President of Acquisitions, with Cameron McCracken, Managing Director, Pathé Productions, and Muriel Sauzay, Head of Sales, Pathé International.
“Suffragette is a story that will resonate with men and women across the generations; it is about parents and children, courage and dedication, and making hard choices,” said Focus CEO Peter Schlessel.