RLJ Entertainment has acquired baseball drama The Phenom, starring Ethan Hawke and Paul Giamatti. The company has all U.S. rights and plans to release the picture day-and-date theatrically and on VOD on June 24. Written and directed by Noah Buschel (The Missing Person), the film is making its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17.
The film is about a major-league rookie pitcher Hopper Gibson (Johnny Simmons) who can’t find the plate and is sent down to the minor leagues. There he begins sessions with an unorthodox sports psychologist (Paul Giamatti), and in the process, hidden conflicts with his overbearing father (Ethan Hawke) are brought to light.
The film was produced by Antonia Bogdanovich (Phantom Halo), Jeff Elliott (Blunt Force Trauma), Kim Jose (Precious) and Jeff Rice (Lone Survivor).
Other films from RLJ are The Cobbler with Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi and directed by Oscar winner Tom McCarthy, Bone Tomahawk which stars Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and Richard Jenkins; Criminal Activities starring John Travolta, Michael Pitt and Dan Stevens; and Nina starring Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo and directed by Cynthia Mort.
“As an avid baseball fan, I was immediately drawn to this story but it is about much more than just the sport,” said Mark Ward, RLJ Entertainment’s chief acquisitions officer. “Ethan Hawke, Paul Giamatti and Johnny Simmons bring to the life the struggles within the sport of getting to the top and the cost you sometimes have to pay to get there.”
The deal was negotiated by Ward and Jess De Leo, senior VP of Legal and Business Affairs for RLJ Entertainment with WME on behalf of the filmmakers.