FilmDistrict Takes U.S. Rights to Elton John Biopic 'Rocketman'

19. Elton John
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This pop icon still knows how to entertain an audience, drawing 240,381 eager concert-goers to his 38 shows this year. In total, John brought in $32,920,986.

The movie will be directed by Michael Gracy from a script by Lee Hall.

FilmDistrict has inked a deal for U.S. rights to Rocketman, the Elton John biopic.

Rocket Pictures, John’s production company, has teamed with Icon/AI Film to produce Rocketman, which is to be directed by Michael Gracey from a script by Lee Hall (War Horse, Billy Elliot).

Rocketman will tell John’s life story, from his childhood as a five-year-old musical genius through his often-troubled life, to becoming a global musical icon.

FilmDistrict is planning a wide theatrical release for the film which is in early pre-production.

The FilmDistrict deal comes on the heels of UK-based Icon’s production arm AI Film coming aboard to co-finance the film from a deal inked during the Festival de Cannes.

Rocket Pictures' Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish are producing the project along with Lawrence Bender for AI Film.

John and Access Industries’ Len Blavatnik are executive producing the film, along with Icon/AI Film CEO Aviv Giladi and FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel.

FilmDistrict CEO Schlessel described John as "one of the most acclaimed and dynamic artists of all time".

Shaw said: "We could not be more excited to have Film District and Icon/AI Film as partners as we bring this extraordinary story to the screen.  Having Peter Schlessel and the FilmDistrict team on board ensures the Rocketman will reach the widest possible audience in the U.S., and our new alliance with Aviv Giladi and Lawrence Bender gives us tremendous added resources as we move quickly toward production."

UTA structured the financing for the film and negotiated on behalf of Rocket Pictures with both Icon/AI Film and FilmDistrict.

Beth Lemberger, Film District's Executive vp of business affairs and general counsel, negotiated on behalf of FilmDistrict.