Lions Gate shoulders ‘Weight’

Bigelow's pic acquired at Toronto Fest

TORONTO — In the waning days of the Toronto Intl. Film Festival, Lions Gate Films has made the first major acquisition of the fest by picking up U.S. theatrical distribution on Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Weight of Water” from StudioCanal. Pic, which stars Sean Penn, Catherine McCormack, Elizabeth Hurley and Sarah Polley, will probably be released sometime next year.

“Weight of Water” juxtaposes two parallel storylines, one of which is set in the late 19th century and the other in the present day. Pic follows a photojournalist (McCormack) who embarks on a boating excursion to photograph an infamous 1873 murder site with her troubled husband (Penn), her brother in-law and his girlfriend (Hurley). Misplaced passions and vague jealousies amongt the foursome mirror emotions surrounding the earlier tragedy and lead to one of their own.

“Weight of Water” was adapted by Alice Arlen and Chris Kyle from Anita Shreve’s novel and produced by Janet Yang, Joni Sighvatsson and A. Kitman Ho.

“I couldn’t ask for a better domestic distributor than Lions Gate for ‘Weight of Water.’ Mark Urman and Tom Ortenberg expressed tremendous passion and commitment for the film,” said Bigelow. “Quite frankly, I feel it is an honor that they chose ‘Weight of Water’ to add to their prestigious slate.”

Trimark Pictures’ Peter Block and Lions Gate Films releasing co-president Tom Ortenberg brokered the deal on behalf of Lions Gate, with John Kochman and Daniel Marquet representing StudioCanal. Arnaud Duteil and Manuel Chiche are responsible for bringing the project to StudioCanal and managing it for the company.

Lions Gate Films, which plans to close its merger with Trimark Pictures in the next few weeks, also closed a deal this week for the U.S. rights to the award-winning Mexican film “Amores Perros.”

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