IFC Films hearts 'Valentine's Day'

Nia Vardalos, John Corbett reunite for romantic comedy

IFC Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the romantic comedy "I Hate Valentine's Day," starring Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.

The acquisition reunites Vardalos and Corbett with IFC, which turned their previous screen teaming, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," into an unexpected indie blockbuster that grossed $241.4 million domestically in 2002.

While "Wedding" prospered as a platform release that gradually widened, "Valentine's" is employing the new video-on-demand model that IFC has been promoting. Beginning July 1, the distributor will make the movie available on its IFC in Theaters VOD platform, which will be augmented by theatrical engagements in New York and Los Angeles and select other cities.

The film will also go through IFC's exclusive deal with Blockbuster, making it available in Blockbuster's stores, its by-mail subscription service and digital downloads at Blockbuster.com.

"We think this romantic comedy is the perfect film for all of our platforms and are incredibly excited by its prospects," IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring said.

Vardalos, making her directorial debut, shot the indie in just 18 days. It also stars Judah Friedlander, Rachel Dratch and Zoe Kazan, who just won the best actress award at the Tribeca Film Festival for "The Exploding Girl." Vardalos wrote the screenplay from a story by herself and Stephen David and Ben Zook.

Vardalos plays a florist who keeps her relationships brief by sticking to a "five-date" rule that is tested by a new romance with a restauranteur played by Corbett.

William Sherak, Madeline Sherak and Jason Shuman produced "Valentine's," which was repped by ICM Independent, for Blue Star Entertainment.

Before "Valentine's" is released, Vardalos will be seen on screen in "My Life in Ruins," which Fox Searchlight releases June 5.
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