Open Road Films opens arms to ‘The Host’

Stephenie Meyer film adaptation to screen in 2013

Open Road Films has invited Stephenie Meyer’s “The Host” to be the second title for its fledgling distribution operation, with plans to release the film March 29, 2013.

“The Host,” which stars Saoirse Ronan, fits Open Road’s distrib mandate nicely: The joint venture between exhibs AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment will acquire mid-range budgeted pics for nationwide release.

Meyer’s newest tome to be adapted for the bigscreen, from helmer-scribe Andrew Niccol, is an effort by Open Road to capitalize on the rabid fanbase of Summit’s “Twilight” franchise, which has grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide. (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I” bows Nov. 18; the second “Breaking Dawn” installment hits theaters Nov. 16, 2012.)

“The Host” tells a futuristic story set in a world invaded by an unseen enemy who takes over the minds of humans.

“I’m thrilled to be adding another fantastic partner to an already amazing group,” Meyer said. “Everyone involved has so much passion for the project.”

Pic, produced by Meyer, Nick Wechsler and Paula Mae and Steve Schwartz of Chockstone Pictures, will start lensing in February in Louisiana and New Mexico. Silver Reel’s Claudia Bluemhuber is providing mezzanine financing and exec producing. Roger Schwartz and Lizzy Bradford are co-producers.

Deal was brokered by Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg, Elliott Kleinberg, exec VP of operations and business affairs for Open Road, and senior VP of acquisitions, Ben Cotner. UTA’s Rena Ronson and David Fox of Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Light, along with Philip Strina of Inferno, negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers.

Open Road’s first acquisition, “Killer Elite,” is set for Sept. 23.

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