Johnny Depp Film 'Minamata' Sells Wide

Johnny Depp, Minamata - H Still - 2019
Credit: Larry D. Horricks

HanWay Films have closed deals across Europe and Asia for the period drama, in which Depp plays W. Eugene Smith, the U.S. photojournalist who help expose an environmental tragedy in Minamata, Japan. 

International distributors have focused on Minamata, the period drama, starring Johnny Depp, about the environmental disaster in Minamata, Japan in the 1970s. 

HanWay Films closed deals across Europe and Asia for the film, from director Andrew Levitas, which sees Depp play real-life photojournalist W. Eugene Smith. It was Smith's heartbreaking images of Japanese villagers suffering from mercury poisoning — the result of industrial pollution — that helped bring the story of the Minamata tragedy to the world.

Japanese actress Minami co-stars as Aileen, the Japanese activist who convinces Smith to cover the story. Bill Nighy plays Smith's boss, Life magazine editor Robert Hayes, who first published the Minamata photos. 

Vertigo Releasing has picked up U.K. and Irish rights for Minamata and is planning a theatrical bow on Feb. 12, 2021. HanWay also closed deals with Eagle Pictures for Italy, Swift Distribution in France, Films4U in Portugal, Forum Film in Poland, and Greece's Odeon among many European territories. Rialto Distribution has Minamata for Australia and New Zealand, Front Row took rights in the Middle East, PVR took the movie for India, Intercontinental Films secured distribution for Hong Kong, and Exponenta Film has rights in the CIS territories. 

In Japan, Minamata will go out via Longride. 

Depp and Sam Sarkar produced Minamata through Infinitum Nihil together with Andrew Levitas and Metalwork Pictures. Other producers include Bill Johnson, Gabrielle Tana, Kevan Van Thompson, David K Kessler, and Zach Avery. 

The film premiered in Berlin earlier this year. Many critics singled out Depp's performance for praise, making the title a potential awards-season contender. The film does not yet have a U.S. distributor attached.