Hit Sundance documentary feature “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster” has sealed a four-way distribution pact for U.S. theatrical and DVD release, with the headbanger band, IFC Films, Paramount Home Entertainment and filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky all partnering on the deal.
The directors-producers’ Third Eye Motion Picture Co. will consult with the band and its management company, Q Prime, on the release. The film is owned by Metallica, which will oversee and pay for all marketing costs, with IFC matching the band’s P&A expenditure on U.S. theatrical launch.
Like director Andrew Jarecki’s deal with Magnolia Pictures and HBO on “Capturing the Friedmans,” the multipronged “Metallica” alliance represents a further extension of the opportunities for hands-on involvement of documentary filmmakers — and in this case, subjects — in the marketing and distribution of their work.
Paramount’s deal for home entertainment distribution was struck directly between the company and Berlinger, who also negotiated the IFC deal with acquisitions exec Sarah Lash. Berlinger is negotiating deals with more than a dozen key foreign markets planning theatrical releases in close proximity to the U.S.
The fourth feature collaboration between Berlinger and Sinofsky, “Metallica” follows music history’s most successful heavy-metal band through two years of intensive group therapy and the birth of their Grammy-winning “St. Anger” album as they work through personal problems and conflicts in their 20-year relationship.
Distilled from 1,600 hours of footage, the warts-and-all account chronicles some of the most turbulent times in the band’s history, including intense clashes between lead singer-guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, Hetfield’s five-month stint in rehab, the group’s threatened breakup and the painful process of replacing longtime bassist Jason Newsted.
Berlinger and Sinofsky produced and directed, with Berlinger, Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma of @radical.media as exec producers. The filmmakers first gained attention at Sundance with their previous features “Brother’s Keeper” and “Paradise Lost.”
“Berlinger and Sinofsky are no strangers to distributing their own work,” said Metallica’s co-manager Cliff Burnstein. “Since they had marketing savvy from self-distributing their previous films, we felt that the band could have a higher level of input into how the film is marketed if we created this partnership.”
“It’s not just distribution-by-numbers any more,” said IFC Entertainment prexy Jonathan Sehring. “There are ways in which to work with filmmakers and films that are unique and interesting to us. We are all striving for the same goal and each have an investment in it being realized.”
IFC’s launch is planned to coincide with Metallica’s upcoming North American tour, with promotional cross-pollination designed to push the release into markets where theatrical documentaries are a rarity. Aim is to create synergy between rock and arthouse communities and bring in hard-core music fans unaccustomed to seeing nonfiction releases.