Company Acquires Jennifer Westfeldt's Directorial Debut Out Of The Toronto International Film Festival
Stellar Ensemble Cast Includes Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox and Edward Burns
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company today announced the acquisition of Red Granite Pictures' FRIENDS WITH KIDS, directed by Jennifer Westfeldt, following its debut screenings at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. The announcement was made jointly by Steve Beeks, Lionsgate's President and co-COO, Joe Drake, co-COO and Motion Picture Group President, and Jason Constantine, President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions.
The release will be handled jointly by Lionsgate and partner company Roadside Attractions, similarly to past collaborations such as EVERYTHING MUST GO, and the upcoming MARGIN CALL, with Roadside Attractions spearheading domestic theatrical distribution and Lionsgate handling all other U.S. rights including home entertainment and television.
Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland's Red Granite Pictures produced the film with Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm's Points West Pictures, producer Jake Kasdan, and Locomotive, led by Joshua Astrachan and Lucy Barzun Donnelly. Red Granite is also handling international sales.
The film is Westfeldt's directorial debut, following the two critically acclaimed independent films that she previously wrote and starred in, KISSING JESSICA STEIN and IRA & ABBY. FRIENDS WITH KIDS boasts an ensemble cast of beloved actors with palpable chemistry, many of whom have appeared onscreen together in previous collaborations: Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox and Edward Burns. The film was widely considered one to watch heading into the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, and was warmly received by critics and audiences alike upon screening there.
"I feel incredibly fortunate to be working with the great teams at Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions on the release of FRIENDS WITH KIDS," said Westfeldt. "Their passion for the project and the subject matter, along with their commitment to finding a broad audience for our film, make them the dream partners for us."
Jason Constantine, Lionsgate's President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, mirrored Westfeldt's sentiments: "We are long time admirers of Jennifer, and this is an excellent directorial debut. She's made a high concept comedy that thoroughly entertains as it explores one of this generation's central quandaries, and everyone on the Lionsgate and Roadside teams who saw the film related to it not just as executives, but as parents or partners. This movie has comedy, heart and truth in equal measures, and it will be a delight to bring to audiences."
Red Granite's Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland stated, "The teams at Lionsgate and Roadside really understand this film and we couldn't be more excited to be in business with them. They are completely committed to the unique vision Jennifer Westfeldt has for FRIENDS WITH KIDS. We believed in Jennifer and this vision from the inception, and are very proud of the end product and happy to have worked alongside such a great team on our debut film."
Constantine negotiated the deal on behalf of Lionsgate with Eda Kowan, SVP of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, and Wendy Jaffe, the Acquisitions and Co-Production team's EVP of Business & Legal Affairs. Cinetic's John Sloss and Jackie Eckhouse of Sloss Eckhouse LawCo negotiated the sale on behalf of the filmmakers. Jennifer Westfeldt is represented by Christian Donatelli and Courtney Kivowitz at The Schiff Company, Innovative and Lawrence Rose at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.
About The Film
FRIENDS WITH KIDS,written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt (KISSING JESSICA STEIN, IRA & ABBY),is a daring and poignant ensemble comedy about a close-knit circle of friends at that moment in life when children arrive and everything changes. The last two singles in the group - Westfeldt and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation, STEPBROTHERS), observe the effect that kids have had on their friends' relationships and wonder if there's a better way. They decide to have a kid together - and date other people.
There are big laughs and unexpected emotional truths as this unconventional 'experiment' leads everyone in the group to question the nature of friendship, family and, finally, true love.
The film stars Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox, and Edward Burns.
FRIENDS WITH KIDS is a Red Granite Pictures presentation of a Points West Pictures and Locomotive production. It was produced by Westfeldt with Jon Hamm, Joshua Astrachan, Jake Kasdan, Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland. Executive Producers are Mike Nichols, John Sloss, Lucy Barzun Donnelly and Joe Gatta.
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution and new channel platforms. 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 "Mad Men", "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie" along with the comedy "Blue Mountain State," the upcoming drama "Boss" and the syndication successes "Tyler Perry's House Of Payne", its spinoff "Meet The Browns", the upcoming "For Better or Worse," "The Wendy Williams Show" and "Are We There Yet?".
Its feature film business has generated more than half a billion dollars at the North American box office in the past year, fueled by such successes as THE LINCOLN LAWYER, TYLER PERRY'S MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY, 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®. The Company's home entertainment business has grown to more than 8% market share and is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 13,000 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's 2009 release, THE COVE, captured the Academy Award® for Best Feature Documentary, and in 2010, its 6 Oscar® nominations -- four, including Best Picture, for Debra Granik's WINTER'S BONE, and two, including Best Foreign Language Film, for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's BIUTIFUL, solidified its major position on the distributor landscape. The company recently released Robert Redford's THE CONSPIRATOR starring James McAvoy and Robin Wright; Dan Rush's EVERYTHING MUST GO starring Will Ferrell and Rebecca Hall; Oscar®-winning filmmaker James Marsh's PROJECT NIM; Miranda July's THE FUTURE and Maryam Keshavarz's CIRCUMSTANCE. Next up the company will release THUNDER SOUL, directed by Mark Landsman and executive produced by Jamie Foxx; MARGIN CALL starring Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany and Jeremy Irons; and the much buzzed about ALBERT NOBBS starring Oscar®-winners Glenn Close and Janet McTeer.
About Red Granite
Red Granite Pictures is a Los Angeles based film production, finance and international sales company headed by Founder, Chairman and CEO Riza Aziz and Vice Chairman Joey McFarland. The company is set up to produce four to five feature films a year and actively looks to acquire negative pick-ups and third party productions for sales and distribution through its sales division, Red Granite International. The company recently acquired the rights to Jordan Belfort's best-selling memoir THE WOLF OF WALL STREET and will produce the feature film with Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way and Alexandra Milchan's EMJAG Productions. DiCaprio is attached to star as Belfort - the 'Wolf of Wall Street.' Red Granite teamed with Points West Productions and Locomotive to produce FRIENDS WITH KIDS - the company's debut production.
For More Information Contact:
Lionsgate - Film Division
Kate Hubin Piliero
Lionsgate - Corporate Inquiries
Peter D. Wilkes
On Behalf of Red Granite