ThinkFilm picks up 'Roman Polanski' rights

Marina Zenovich's docu acquired from HBO

NEW YORK -- ThinkFilm has nabbed U.S. theatrical and home video rights to one of the first titles to generate sales buzz at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Marina Zenovich's docu "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired."

The distributor acquired the film from HBO, which will air it June 9. A New York theatrical opening on July 11 will be followed by a summer platform rollout and late fall DVD release. The film had a low-profile Oscar-qualifying run in New York and Pasadena in March.

The feature's look at the director's statutory rape trial and subsequent fleeing of the U.S. prompted both acclaim and criticism for its nonjudgemental approach to the subject.

ThinkFilm president Mark Urman worked as Polanski's publicist from 1991-97 and was filmed by Zenovich for the docu. Although he didn't make the final cut, it helped provide the inside track in the acquisition, which was sealed Tuesday after HBO finalized their initial Sundance U.S. deal. The Weinstein Co. made its international rights deal (except U.K. television) at the fest.

Urman said he wasn't concerned about pay TV viewers drawing away theatergoers or potential online piracy, given that he felt a large audience of non-HBO subscribers would be interested. The bigger concern, he said, was that film critics would not review the project (as happened with two earlier ThinkFilm docus aired by HBO before hitting theaters: "Favela Rising" and "The Trials of Darryl Hunt"). But the film's Cannes premiere and recent New York Times review allayed his concerns about reviews supporting the theatrical release.