Senator on 'Lane' from Weinsteins

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Senator Entertainment's U.S. arm has picked up the North American distribution rights to Occupant Films' horror feature "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" from the Weinstein Co. The movie will be the first theatrical release for the German-based company.

The Weinstein Co. picked up worldwide rights to the movie at last year's Toronto International Film Festival. The movie was scheduled for a July 20 release, but in recent weeks, there were no trailers, posters or other marketing, and it was clear the studio was dumping it.

Sources inside the Weinstein Co. said there were differences of opinion between the studio and filmmakers on how wide to release the movie, with the company preferring a smaller rollout.

Other sources said the company was split internally over the movie, with chairmen Harvey and Bob Weinstein at loggerheads over its acquisition. The recent poor performance of Dimension's "Grindhouse" only exacerbated the situation, sources said. The Weinstein Co. denied any internal divisions over the movie.

Also a factor is the recent downturn in the horror movie market.

Senator plans to release "Mandy Lane" on 1,000-plus screens in early 2008. The company will announce its overall U.S. theatrical release plans in the near future.

Said Senator U.S. president and CEO Marco Weber: "When we saw this movie at Toronto last year, we immediately secured distribution in Germany. With our company now set up for select U.S. releases, we jumped at the opportunity to secure North American rights. We feel this movie has tremendous commercial appeal, and it's the perfect project to kick off our U.S. distribution ambitions."

Senator recently completed production on Dennis Lee's "Fireflies in the Garden," starring Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Julia Roberts, Hayden Panettierre, Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Watson, Ioan Gruffudd and Shannon Lucio. The company is in preproduction on Bret Easton Ellis' "The Informers," to be directed by Gregor Jordan.

For the Weinstein Co., it appears as if the movie will still make a sizable profit — without it yet being screened. The sale price for the North American rights were what the Weinstein Co. paid for worldwide rights, according to the company. And it already has sold rights to several international territories, including the German rights to Senator, this year. Plus, the company retains home entertainment rights.

Directed by Jonathan Levine and written by Jacob Forman, "Mandy Lane" stars Amber Heard as an idolized high school student who accompanies five friends on a weekend trip to a ranch, where each is eliminated by a mysterious killer.

The cast includes Anson Mount, Michael Welch, Edwin Hodge, Whitney Able, Peyton Hayslip and Aaron Himelstein. Occupant's Felipe Marino and Joe Neurauter produced with Chad Feehan. Occupant's Keith Calder served as executive producer.
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