EXCLUSIVE: Endeavor Content has largely sold out on Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson and Zack Gottsagen drama The Peanut Butter Falcon, which has slow-burned its way to a healthy $19M at the U.S. box office for Roadside Attractions and Armory Films, after opening in early August.
Deals have closed with Rialto for Australia and New Zealand, Tobis in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Officine Ubu in Italy, Mis Label in Scandinavia, A Contracorriente Films in Spain, The Searchers in Benelux, Outside Films in
Portugal, Capella in Russia, Aeon Entertainment Co. Ltd. in Japan, CDC in Latin America and South Africa, Eagle Films in the Middle East, Filmarti in Turkey, Falcon in Indonesia, Shaw in Singapore, Cai Chang in Taiwan and Golden A in Thailand. As we previously revealed, Signature will release in the UK on October 18.
The Mark Twain-style story, written and directed by Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson, also stars Bruce Dern, John Hawkes, Jon Bernthal, Thomas Haden Church and Yelawolf.
Pic tells the story of Zak (Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from a residential nursing home to follow his dream of going to professional wrestling school. A strange turn of events pairs him on the road with Tyler (LaBeouf), a small-time outlaw on the run, who becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally.
Nilson and Shwartz set the film up specifically for Gottsagen, who has Down syndrome, after they met him at a camp for disabled actors. The widespread distribution and strong U.S. box office is a feel-good story for a movie which was difficult to get off the ground, not least because the team ignored calls from would-be financiers to cast a big name actor to play someone with Down syndrome.
The SXSW premiere got its UK launch last week at the London Film Festival after a European bow at Deauville in France where it won the Audience Award and will be released by ACE.
Producers are Tim Zajaros and Christopher Lemole of Armory Films, Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa of Bona Fide Productions, Lije Sarki and David Thies. Executive producers are Manu Gargi, Armory Films’ Aaron Scotti, Michelle Sie Whitten (co-founder and executive director of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation in Denver), Timothy P. Shriver (Chairman of the Special Olympics) and Anthony K. Shriver (Best Buddies International Founder).