EXCLUSIVE: Robert Schwartzman’s filmmaker-centric distribution company Utopia has launched Utopia Originals which will focus on the development, packaging, and sale of original narrative and documentary feature film as well as television content. For its first project, Utopia Originals has teamed with Norman Reedus’ production banner bigbaldhead and Shout! Studios for a TV adaptation of the cult horror classic Sorority House Massacre which was executive produced by indie trailblazer Roger Corman and directed by Carol Frank.
The inaugural project will be developed in partnership with Stephen Trask, creator of the Tony-Award winning Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The 1986 movie is exactly what it suggests: a story about sorority sisters who are stalked by a psychopathic killer who shares a telepathic link with one of the girls. The horror spawned two sequels that included Sorority House Massacre II and Sorority House Massacre III: Hard to Die. Schwartzman and Reedus will produce the TV adaptation alongside Danielle DiGiacomo, Brent Haynes, Bob Emmer, Garson Foos, Amanda Verdon and JoAnne Colonna.
“I could not be more excited to collaborate with Robert and his incredible team at Utopia on this project,” said Reedus. “Their taste and creative vision are inspiring, and exactly in line with the kind of content that bigbaldhead set out to develop. We are thrilled to revisit this cult classic and create something truly unique.”
“When we started Utopia, it was with the intention of not only supporting filmmakers on the distribution side but, also, to expand into working with creatives to build unique, original content from the onset,” said Schwartzman. “With Utopia Originals, we’re excited to hit the ground running with the Sorority House Massacre series and collaborate with the incredible teams behind it.”
Bigbaldhead is a partnership between former AMC Scripted Programming VP Amanda Verdon and Brillstein Entertainment Partners JoAnne Colonna. Shout! Studios is the multi-platform film entertainment distribution and production arm of Shout! Factory.
Schwartzman launched Utopia in 2019 ahead of SXSW, the perfect fest to celebrate indie filmmakers. The company’s slate of films includes Mickey & the Bear, House of Cardin, cult classic RAD, and Sundance darling Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets. Schwartzman and Danielle DiGiacomo, Utopia’s Head of Content, form the key team leading Utopia Originals as they collaborate to identify future IP, features and content opportunities for the division. Utopia Media’s suite of companies continues to grow with arms in distribution, acquisition and marketing. In addition, Schwartzman and Cole Harper launched Altavod, a video-on-demand platform for filmmakers to self-distribute their feature films.