'Buck' stops at Magnolia

John Malkovich stars in the film set for a fall release

Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to the John Malkovich starrer "The Great Buck Howard" from Bristol Bay Prods. and Playtone Pictures for a low-seven figures.

Malkovich's title role centers on a one-time Las Vegas mentalist relegated to performing in shabby venues in middle America. Colin Hanks plays a disillusioned law student who becomes the performer's road manager against the wishes of his father, portrayed -- appropriately enough -- by Tom Hanks.

The cast includes Emily Blunt.

A fall theatrical release is planned. Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said execs still were mulling whether to bow "Buck" in limited or wide release and also whether to unspool the film on other platforms simultaneously with its theatrical debut, an occasional Magnolia strategy.

"Buck" surfaced at this year's Sundance Film Festival, where it went unsold.