Warner Bros. Pictures is teaming with Fathom Events for a special theatrical event of the Daniel Roher-directed documentary, Navalny, which had its surprise screening at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award in the U.S. Documentary Competition section as well as the Festival Favorite Award.
The movie about Russian government opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who targeted in an assassination attempt in August 2020, was acquired by CNN Films and HBO Max in early January before Sundance. Warner Bros. will screen the film in more than 800 theaters in North America on April 11 and 12.
The screenings will be followed by a special conversation with the filmmakers, to be moderated by CNN chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward. Ward has reported extensively from Russia and Ukraine, and specifically on matters related to Navalny, for several years.
Warner Bros. previously had success with the Fathom Events special theatrical release of the Peter Jackson directed 2018 WWI documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old which grossed close to $18M.
“Alexey Navalny was just last week convicted and sentenced in Russia and cannot tell the story of what happened to him. Our film shows his tremendous courage fighting an authoritarian regime and its corruption inside Russia. I’m looking forward to the Fathom Events engagements and speaking to CNN’s Clarissa Ward. I appreciate Warner Bros. Pictures creating these experiences for theatrical audiences,” said Roher.
“With Navalny, we had an exceptionally rare opportunity to drop audiences into the center of a heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat thriller that is not only true, but urgently unfolding, in real time, at this critical moment in history,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. President of Domestic Distribution. “Daniel Roher and his team have seamlessly combined daredevil reporting with masterful filmmaking to deliver a compelling motion picture that demands to be seen by a broad movie-going audience, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with our partners at CNN Films, HBO Max, and Fathom Events to make that happen.”
“Fathom Events is beyond proud to bring this must-see documentary to theaters at a time when Navalny’s story should be in front of everyone,” said Ray Nutt, CEO of Fathom Events. “We’re honored to partner with CNN Films, Warner Bros. Pictures, and exhibition to also present the exclusive discussion with Clarissa Ward and the filmmakers about this incredible story.”
“Particularly at this historic global moment, we are really pleased to partner with Warner Bros. Pictures and Fathom Events to make Navalny widely available to through these special engagements,” said Amy Entelis, EVP of Talent and Content Development for CNN Worldwide.
“The conversation with Clarissa will add thoughtful perspective to this concurrent history for the audience,” said Courtney Sexton, SVP for CNN Films. Both Entelis and Sexton spoke on behalf of CNN Films and CNN+.
Navalny looks into the shocking and brazen assassination attempt against Navalny, and who was behind it. Through his years-long campaign against corruption among Russia’s elites, Navalny has developed powerful enemies. His publicized revelations, and calls for democratic reforms, have enraged Vladimir Putin, who refuses to even say his name in public. In August 2020, Navalny was secretly poisoned with a military-grade chemical nerve agent in an elaborate attempt on his life. Despite denials from the Russian government, the poison was later linked to the Kremlin through investigations by international news organizations, including Bellingcat and CNN.
The documentary is produced by Odessa Rae of RaeFilm Studios, Diane Becker and Melanie Miller of Fishbowl Films, and Shane Boris of Cottage M. Entelis and Sexton of CNN Films, and Maria Pevchikh, are EPs.
The international premiere for Navalny took place in Copenhagen at the CPH:DOX Film Festival last weekend.
CNN Films has broadcast rights on the docu, HBO Max and CNN+ have streaming rights, while Dogwoof is repping foreign rights on the film.
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