By Dave McNary
May 12, 2011
In its second acquisition of the day, FilmDistrict has acquired U.S. rights to ”Arabian Nights” with Chuck Russell (”The Mask”) set to direct and Liam Hemsworth starring.
Deal comes on the heels of the newbie distrib announcing it had acquired rights to romcom ”Playing the Field.” Both transactions were announced Thursday at Cannes.
Russell will direct the 3D ”Nights” from a script he co-wrote the screenplay with Barry Ambrose. Inferno’s Bill Johnson is producing the film with ROAR’s Will Ward and Jay Froberg, and Mayhem Pictures’ Mark Ciardi. Inferno’s Jim Seibel is exec producing.
“Nights” centers on a bold, young commander who joins forces with Sinbad, Aladdin and his Genie to rescue Scheherazade and save her Kingdom from the dark powers of an immortal Sorcerer.
Ambrose is repped by Madhouse Entertainment and attorney Rob Szymanski.
FilmDistrict acquired “Playing the Field” from Nu Image/Millennium Films and plans for a spring release.
Pic’s in production and stars Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel along with Judy Greer, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Directed by Gabriele Muccino from a script by Robbie Fox, “Field” is produced by Butler and Alan Siegel’s Evil Twin Prods. in association with Kevin Misher, Jonathan Mostow, Heidi Jo Markel and John Thompson. Nu Image / Millennium Films’ Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short and Avi Lerner are exec producers.
Story centers on the homecoming of a retired soccer pro whose glory days are behind him. He moves back to Virginia to reconnect with his estranged ex-wife and neglected son and starts to coach the boys’ soccer team.
FilmDistrict began seven months ago with Graham King and Tim Headington unveiling the distribution operation. Its first two films were “Soul Surfer” and ”Insidious.”
FilmDistrict has also struck a multiyear pact with Netflix for Web streaming of its feature films, bypassing a traditional pay cable output deal.