(Toronto, Sept. 15) Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have acquired U.S. distribution rights for The American Film Company's first feature film, THE CONSPIRATOR, which made its world premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival this week. The announcement was made jointly today by Lionsgate president of acquisitions and co-productions Jason Constantine, and Roadside Attractions co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d'Arbeloff. A spring 2011 release is planned.
Directed by Robert Redford from a script by James Solomon, THE CONSPIRATOR is the true story of the only woman charged in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, and the young attorney forced to defend her. Robin Wright and James McAvoy star along with a cast that also features Kevin Kline, Evan Rachel Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Alexis Bledel, Danny Huston, Justin Long, Colm Meaney and James Badge Dale. The film was produced by The American Film Company.
"There are few American directors as gifted in cinematic storytelling as Robert Redford," said Cohen, "and with THE CONSPIRATOR, he has chosen a fascinating, little-known tale that illuminates a new perspective on a turning point of history. The American Film Company is off to a tremendous start with their first feature, and we are honored to be partnered with them."
Robert Redford said, "Being invited to the Toronto International Film Festival was a pleasure, and now also to partner with distinguished distributors, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, is an even greater pleasure."
Joe Ricketts, CEO of The American Film Company, added, "All of us at The American Film Company are thrilled that after working with an iconic director and incredibly talented actors, we now will partner with the seasoned distribution and marketing teams at Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions."
As part of the agreement, EPIX, the premium entertainment channel, video-on-demand and online service, will hold the exclusive premium pay television window distribution rights to the film.
Commenting on the film and the agreement, Mark Greenberg, president and CEO of EPIX said, "Robert Redford is an incredible director who has an ability to bring powerful stories to life in film and we are excited to have this film as part of our line-up of films on EPIX in the premium pay television window."
A riveting thriller, THE CONSPIRATOR tells the powerful story of a woman who would do anything to protect her family, and the man who risked everything to save her. In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State. The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt (Wright) owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth (Toby Kebbell) and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous back-drop of post-Civil War Washington, newly-minted lawyer, Frederick Aiken (McAvoy), a 28-year-old Union war-hero, reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal. Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait and hostage in order to capture the only conspirator to have escaped a massive manhunt, her own son, John (Johnny Simmons). As the nation turns against her, Surratt is forced to rely on Aiken to uncover the truth and save her life.
CAA, which represents Redford, Wright, Wood, Bledel, and Long, and Steve Monas of Business Affairs, Inc., brokered the deal on behalf of The American Film Company with Constantine of Lionsgate and Cohen and attorney Greg Bernstein on behalf of Roadside Attractions.
Lionsgate is the leading next generation studio with a strong and diversified presence in the production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment, video-on-demand and digitally delivered content. The Company has built a strong television presence in production of prime time cable and broadcast network series, distribution and syndication of programming through Debmar-Mercury and an array of channel assets. Lionsgate currently has 15 shows on more than 10 networks spanning its prime time production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as the Emmy Award-winning "Mad Men", "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie" along with new series such as "Blue Mountain State" and "Running Wilde" and the syndication successes "Tyler Perry's House Of Payne", its spinoff "Meet The Browns", "The Wendy Williams Show" and the recently announced "Are We There Yet?".
Its feature film business has generated such recent hits as THE EXPENDABLES, which was #1 at the North American box office for two weeks, THE LAST EXORCISM, TYLER PERRY'S WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?, KICK ASS and the critically-acclaimed PRECIOUS, which won two Academy Awards(R). The Company's home entertainment business has grown to more than 7% market share and is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 12,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand remains synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
ABOUT ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS
Roadside Attractions is a film distribution company committed to championing independent films with a willingness to entertain. The company works with filmmakers to devise innovative marketing strategies that encourage audiences to see films that are not typical studio fare. Roadside Attractions' 2009 release THE COVE captured the Academy Award for best feature documentary. Among its 2010 releases are Debra Granik's critically-hailed WINTER'S BONE, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and BIUTIFUL, for which Javier Bardem captured the Best Actor award at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN FILM COMPANY
Founded on the belief that real life is often more compelling than fiction, The American Film Company produces feature films about incredible, true stories from America's past. Central to the company's filmmaking will be prominent historians, assuring that each production remains true to the history from which it is drawn. To learn more about The American Film Company and its first feature film, THE CONSPIRATOR, visit www.TheAmericanFilmCompany.com .
EPIX, a joint venture between Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), is a next-generation premium entertainment channel, video-on-demand and online service launched on October 30, 2009. With access to more than 15,000 motion pictures spanning the vast libraries of its partners and other studios, EPIX provides a powerful entertainment experience with more feature films on demand and online and more HD movies than any other service. It is the only premium service providing its entire monthly line-up of new Hollywood titles, classic feature films, original series, music and comedy specials through the linear channel, video-on-demand and online at EpixHD.com, the leading online destination for movies. EPIX has made the commitment to deliver the industry's most expansive online collection of movies, making more than 3,000 titles available on EpixHD.com. The service is available to over 30 million homes nationwide through carriage agreements with Verizon FiOS, DISH Network, Cox Communications, Mediacom Communications, Charter Communications and NCTC. In addition, Netflix members can instantly watch an array of new releases and library titles from EPIX streamed over the Internet from Netflix 90 days after they premiere in premium pay TV and on demand, giving EPIX another distribution channel to bring its films to more consumers. For more information about EPIX, go to www.EpixHD.com.