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Seth Rogen’s An American Pickle is moving across town and across media.
HBO Max, the new digital streaming service from WarnerMedia, has acquired worldwide rights to the Rogen-starring comedy from Sony Pictures and will release the movie this summer under its Warner Max label.
Sony didn’t have the movie scheduled but was eyeing a release later this year. That, however, was before the coronavirus crisis upended the economics and release strategies of studios. Many studios have pushed back their big-budget tentpole releases into the late summer and fall seasons, or into next year, with smaller movies now facing a pile-on. Sony last month said it remains committed to theatrical exhibition.
The move is a win for all parties as the producers — Rogen and his Point Grey producing partners Evan Goldberg and James Weaver — get a release this year while HBO Max, launching May 27 as a new arrival on the streaming scene, gets an original, studio-made, A-list-starring comedy. Meanwhile, Sony, which does not have its own streaming service, gets an immediate cash infusion.
“HBO Max is in the market for motion pictures that stand out,” said HBO Max CCO Kevin Reilly in a statement. “And An American Pickle does stand out, with Seth in this wonderfully original, funny and heartfelt film that we look forward to debuting this summer.”
The movie, with Rogen in dual leading roles, is an adaptation of the 2013 New Yorker series Sell Out by Simon Rich, and is directed by Brandon Trost, the cinematographer of Rogen films This Is the End, Neighbors and The Interview.
The official logline sees Rogen starring as Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer who immigrates to America in 1920 with dreams of building a better life for his beloved family. One day, while working at his factory job, he falls into a vat of pickles and is brined for 100 years. The brine preserves him perfectly and when he emerges in present-day Brooklyn, he finds that he hasn’t aged a day. But when he seeks out his family, he is troubled to learn that his only surviving relative is his great-grandson, Ben Greenbaum (also played by Rogen), a mild-mannered computer coder whom Herschel can’t even begin to understand.
Rich adapted his own script and executive produced along with Point Grey’s Alex McAtee and Ted Gidlow.
“We worked very hard and put as much of ourselves in this story as possible,” said Rogen. “We’re very proud of the end result and we can’t wait for people to get to see it.”
Rogen, Rich and Trost are all repped by UTA.
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