On Thursday at CinemaCon, Lionsgate said that it is opening the Erwin Brothers-directed American Underdog on Christmas Day. The pic was previously set to open on December 10, with the release timed to the climax of the NFL season.
“This movie perfectly aligns with the emotions of the holiday season: The power of faith. A drive to bring out the best in all of us. The strength of family. And of course, the height of the NFL championship season. When you take all of that together, the perfect release date for this movie is Christmas day, and that’s where we have decided to date it,” said Joe Drake, chairman of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group.
American Underdog tells the inspirational true story of Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), who went from a stock boy at a grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion and Hall of Fame quarterback. The film centers on Warner’s unique story and years of challenges and setbacks that could have derailed his aspirations to become an NFL player. His dreams seemed all but out of reach until with the support of his wife, Brenda (Anna Paquin) and the encouragement of his family, coaches and teammates that Warner perseveres and finds the strength to show the world the champion that he already is. The uplifting story demonstrates that anything is possible when you have faith, family and determination.
Dennis Quaid also stars as Dick Vermeil. The pic is directed by Jon Erwin and Andrew Erwin. The duo are joined by Kevin Downes to produce through their Kingdom banner. American Underdog also teams the Kingdom Story Company filmmakers with producer Mark Ciardi, who has produced many sports movies (The Rookie, Miracle, Secretariat, Million Dollar Arm, McFarland, USA).
Jon Erwin (I Still Believe) wrote with David Aaron Cohen (Friday Night Lights) and Jon Gunn (I Still Believe). The screenplay is based upon interviews with Warner as well as Warner’s memoir, All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football and the First Miracle Season. Kurt Warner and Brenda Warner serve as EPs.
Kingdom Story Company and Lionsgate are have a long-term partnership to provide event-level, faith-based entertainment. They’re developing and producing The Unbreakable Boy, also starring Levi, a film based on the true story of the most inspiring boy who touched and changed the lives of those around him. Kingdom also has produced The Jesus Music, a fascinating documentary about of the birth of Christian rock, which rose out of the 1960s counterculture movement to become a worldwide phenomenon.
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