Filmmakers ‘Best’ BSkyB in court battle over pic

McGuckian, Lynch secure biopic's theatrical release

LONDON — Filmmakers Mary McGuckian and John Lynch have won their court battle against British Sky Broadcasting to secure a U.K. theatrical release for their movie “Best.”

Biopic of soccer star George Best will likely be released in May by Optimum Releasing.

BSkyB film unit Sky Pictures co-financed the film assuming that it would have a simultaneous pay TV premiere and theatrical release.

But when it proved difficult to arrange for theatrical distribution on that basis, BSkyB went ahead and scheduled an airing of the pic for March.

McGuckian and Lynch obtained an injunction Monday blocking the broadcast until May, arguing that an earlier screening would make a theatrical release impossible and damage the film’s international prospects.

“The international marketplace for British feature films is very much determined by their U.K. theatrical release,” said McGuckian, who directed, produced and co-wrote the film. “We have had considerable interest from the U.S. and other European distributors who have all been waiting to see the outcome in the U.K.”

Sky still has the right to approve the theatrical distribution plans. It originally agreed to contribute $500,000 toward theatrical P&A, but it is unclear whether Sky will still do so.

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