The Weinstein Company has restocked for Oscar season with a $7 million deal for U.S. rights to The Founder, the John Lee Hancock-directed film about fast-food pioneer Ray Kroc, to be played by Michael Keaton. News of this has been around for days, but here is how they’re describing it.
It’s the true story of how Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers’ speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire. FilmNation has the foreign half of the pic. CAA put together the movie and brokered the deal. Below is the official press release:
Following a fierce bidding war among top US distributors, The Weinstein Company (TWC) will co-finance THE FOUNDER, the origin story of the rise of the McDonald’s fast food empire, with FilmNation Entertainment and will distribute the film in the US. FilmNation Co-President Production & Acquisitions Aaron Ryder will produce along with Jeremy Renner’s and Don Handfield’s The Combine. FilmNation will handle all international territories, which nearly sold out last month at Berlin’s European Film Market. The drama will star Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton (BIRDMAN: OR THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE) to be directed by John Lee Hancock (SAVING MR. BANKS, THE BLIND SIDE). Pre-production is set to begin this month, and shooting will start mid May in Atlanta.
Commented TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein: “THE FOUNDER is set to be an incredible project centered around one of America’s greatest modern success stories. We are immensely excited to be joining with Glen Basner and the wonderful FilmNation team, along with The Combine, in bringing such a prestigious set of acting and filmmaking talent together on screen.”
“TWC’s continuously fresh approach to distributing and marketing elevated films like this is second to none and is exactly what we were looking for when finding a US home and partner for the film,” said FilmNation Entertainment CEO Glen Basner.
The tone of the script has been described as being akin to THE SOCIAL NETWORK and THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Written by Robert Siegel (BIG FAN), THE FOUNDER is a drama that tells the true story of how Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers’ speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire.
International distributors on board include: Studiocanal in the UK, Elevation Pictures in Canada, Roadshow Films in Australia, Europacorp in France, Splendid Film in Germany, Videa in Italy, Sun Distribution in Latin America, Mis Labels in Scandinavia, Spentzos Film in Greece, LEV Cinemas in Israel, Prisvideo/Ecofilmes in Portugal, Aqua Group in Turkey, Ster Kinekor in South Africa, Bravos in Hong Kong, PVR Pictures in India/Pakistan, PT Amero in Indonesia, Captive Entertainment in Philippines, Shaw Renters in Singapore, 9ers Entertainment in South Korea, and Applause in Taiwan.
CAA brokered the deal with FilmNation EVP Business & Legal Affairs Alison Cohen and TWC COO David Glasser and EVP Acquisitions and Business & Legal Affairs Michal Steinberg.