February release planned for Witherspoon film

Summit Entertainment has acquired North American distribution rights to “Penelope,” starring Reese Witherspoon and Christina Ricci.

Summit, which is gearing up to operate as a full-service studio, plans to release “Penelope” on Feb. 1. Pic’s a teen fable centered on a woman with a facial deformity who must marry someone from her own class to break an evil spell.

IFC acquired domestic theatrical rights for “Penelope” last year at Toronto. It set release dates in April and then again in August before pulling the plug as part of its move to focus on its core business of smaller-budget indies. IFC was partnered with the Weinstein Co., which had acquired TV and homevid rights.

Scott Steindorff produced via the Stone Village Pictures banner along with Jennifer Simpson and Witherspoon at their Type A Films banner. The pic is exec produced by Robin Greenspun, Danny Greenspun, Andrew Molasky, Christian Arnold-Beutel, Dylan Russell, Michael Roban and Chris Curling.

“Penelope” also stars James McAvoy, Catherine O’Hara, Peter Dinklage and Richard E. Grant. Mark Palansky directed.

Summit co-chair Rob Friedman made the announcement Wednesday. “It is the kind of material that will allow our marketing group to really shine,” he said.

Summit’s in production on “Get Some” and “Step Up 2.” Summit principals Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger plan to distribute annually 10 to12 pics, including eight that will be inhouse productions.

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