Passing the ‘Bowl’

Lions Gate gets rights to Merchant Ivory film

Lions Gate Films has taken all North American distribution rights to “The Golden Bowl” starring Nick Nolte and Uma Thurman from Merchant Ivory Prods. and plans a platform release for the title next spring.

Pic’s original distributor, Miramax Films, fell out when Merchant Ivory and Miramax could not agree on a cut for the two hour-plus film (Daily Variety, Sept. 19).

“The Golden Bowl” comes from the multiple Oscar-winning team of producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who previously teamed on “The Remains of the Day,” “Howard’s End,” and “A Room With a View.”

“Jim, Ruth and I are very happy that “The Golden Bowl” is to be released theatrically in the United States and Canada by Lions Gate,” said Merchant. “We appreciate the innovative, imaginative and energetic approach of Mark Urman, Tom Ortenberg and their team; they will endorse Merchant Ivory’s belief that the creative integrity of independent filmmakers must be respected and maintained.”

Added Ivory, “We feel confident that Lions Gate will succeed in bringing our film to a wide American audience who also shares this philosophy as we have proved by our 40 years of successful filmmaking.”

Based on the classic novel by Henry James, “The Golden Bowl” stars Oscar nominees Nick Nolte, and Uma Thurman as well as Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Northam and Oscar winner Anjelica Huston in the story of a rich American widower (Nolte) and his sheltered daughter (Beckinsale), both of whom marry only to discover that their respective mates (Thurman and Northam) are romantically entangled with one another.

“We are honored that Merchant Ivory chose us to release ‘The Golden Bowl,’ ” said Lions Gate Releasing co-president Ortenberg. “We are opting to release the film next spring as it is deserving of extreme care and nurturing, and to attempt to rush it into the marketplace this fall would not allow us to sufficiently capitalize on its award potential, of which it is so richly deserving.

Added Lions Gate Releasing co-president Urman, “‘The Golden Bowl’ is exquisite on every level, with top-notch work from everyone involved. We genuinely believe that audiences are starving for this sort of film, and no one does it better than Merchant Ivory and company.”

The deal was brokered by Ortenberg, Urman and Trimark’s Peter Block on behalf of Lions Gate, and by Richard Hawley on behalf of Merchant-Ivory.

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