EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate just made a splashy acquisition here at the Toronto Film Festival, landing U.S. distribution rights to Midway, the Roland Emmerich-directed drama about the seminal WWII battle that is a co-production between The Mark Gordon Company and Emmerich’s Centropolis Entertainment. Bona Film Group leads the financing, and Starlight Culture Entertainment Group is in talks to provided the rest. Emmerich and Harald Kloser are producing with Gordon. MGC’s Matt Jackson is also producing.
The film will get underway with a $100 million budget and a P&A spend upwards of $35 million, a giant deal brokered by CAA and Lionsgate’s Patrick Wachsberger. The film will be released under the Summit label. Wes Tooke wrote the script.
The picture first came into focus at Cannes when Deadline revealed it and that Bona Film Group was in for around $80 million, with the rights to distribute in China.
The film is an epic telling of the Battle of Midway, a turning point in the Pacific theater of World War II. The story follows the real soldiers and aviators who pulled off the unbelievable to turn the tide of the war in June 1942. Emmerich and Gordon are extending a their relationship that began with The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. Josh Clay Phillips will oversee the project on behalf of MGC.
“We’re thrilled to bring the action-packed story of one of the greatest naval battles in history to the big screen with a world-class creative team led by the visionary Roland Emmerich and a blue-chip roster of partners,” said Wachsberger in confirming the deal to Deadline. “This is epic and heroic storytelling for a global audience at its very finest.”
Emmerich and Kloser are repped by CAA and Bloom Hergott. Tooke is represented by WME, Rain Management Group and Lichter, Grossman. Lionsgate president of acquisitions & co-productions Jason Constantine and business and legal affairs exec veep John Biondo negotiated the deal with CAA on behalf of the filmmakers.