IM Global’s Anthem label has added a host of Asian titles ahead of next week’s Cannes. In addition to Huayi Brothers’ action fantasy Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings and drama Youth, the company will handle worldwide sales on four Enlight Pictures titles as part of their exclusive output deal. Anthem is also taking on sales of Alibaba Pictures’ fantasy romance Once Upon A Time, co-directed by Anthony Molinara and House Of Flying Daggers’ DP Zhao Xiaoding, and action thriller Real which marks Alibaba’s first Korean film investment. From Cove Pictures, it’s directed by Love Lee and follows an ambitious businessman whose aim is to control the criminal world by launching the largest casino in the country. Just as he is on the verge of losing it all, a mysterious investigative journalist approaches him with a solution, but he soon realizes that not all is what it seems. CJ will release the film in Korea. Enlight’s slate includes animated adventure The Guardian, documentary Return To The Wolves, romantic drama All About Secrets and comedic drama City Of Rock. IM Global has been active in the Chinese industry since opening its Beijing office in 2013. It’s already handled such mega-hits as Buddies In India, Mojin: The Lost Legend and The Mermaid, which is the highest-grossing movie ever in China.
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Geoffrey Rush and Jai Courtney are set to star in Australian family pic Storm Boy. A contemporary retelling of the 1976 film, principal photography starts in July. Rush will play Mike “Storm Boy” Kingley, who recounts his childhood adventures to troubled teen granddaughter Madeline in an effort to prevent her from making the same mistakes he made years before. Courtney plays Hideaway Tom, a protective father who, after the untimely death of his wife and daughter, removes himself and his son from society to live on a remote isolated coastline. Shawn Seet is directing the Ambience Entertainment production from a script by Justin Monjo. Storm Boy will be released in Australia and New Zealand in 2018 by Studiocanal and is being sold by Kathy Morgan International.
Paris-based Backup Media has come aboard to fully finance Rumble Films’ Donnybrook from writer/director Tim Sutton. Adapted from Frank Bill’s 2013 memoir of the same name, the bare-knuckle fighting tale is produced by David Lancaster (Eye In The Sky, Whiplash) along with Stephanie Wilcox and Backup. Backup is also finalizing distribution deals in France, Germany, Switzerland, Benelux and Austria with UTA Independent Film Group repping North America. Manuel Chiche and The Jokers will co-produce and release the film in France. No Country For Old Men meets Fight Club in the story of a cash-strapped man determined to support his family who competes in the Donnybrook, a legendary brawl where a $100K prize goes to the last man standing. This is Sutton’s fourth feature after Pavilion, Memphis and Dark Night, which premiered in Sundance 2016. It’s also the third feature in the last two years that Rumble and Backup have made together after Fabrice du Welz’ Message From The King and Evan Katz’ Small Crimes. Shooting starts in August in Southern Ohio.
Seville International has boarded international rights to Guy Nattiv’s Skin. Jamie Bell stars in the film with Patti Cake$’ Danielle Macdonald. It follows the true story of Bryon “Pitbull” Widner, member of a notorious Neo-Nazi skinhead gang. When he falls in love with Julie and her three daughters outside the movement, he makes the decision to change his life but must turn on his violent nationalist group, which results in the arrest of its leaders. Widner then receives a gift of $70,000 from a Holocaust survivor to have his facial tattoos removed: a long and painful and process that he must endure in order to find work and help his family survive. Jonathan Dana and Oren Moverman are executive producers with Item 7’s Marie-Claude Poulin and Pierre Even.
Canada’s Productivity Media has inked a first-look deal with Joshua Jackson’s new vertically integrated studio, Liquid Media Group. The three-year pact calls for a minimum of $50M in productions and at least five projects per year. Vancouver-based Liquid Media has provided cinematics for such franchises as Sid Meier’s Civilization, Final Fantasy and Mortal Kombat. It is also developing features including Household Pests from director Sergio Pablos. Jackson is best known for his acting roles, most recently in Showtime’s The Affair, and is Chairman of Liquid. This pact comes on the heels of Productivity Media’s recent multi-picture deal with LA-based Concourse Media.
Altitude Film Sales and Wild Bunch are teaming to jointly handle sales on Beats, directed by Brian Welsh who recently helmed The Entire History Of You episode of Black Mirror. Altitude will also handle UK distribution, while Wild Bunch will distribute in France. Steven Soderbergh is exec producing. Set in a small Scottish town in summer 1994, Beats tells the story of best friends Johnno and Spanner who, despite being total opposites, have a deep bond. Now on the cusp of adulthood, life is destined to take them in different directions. In pursuit of adventure and escape, the boys head out on one last night together to an illegal rave, sharing a night they will never forget.
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