Focus Features has acquired North American distribution rights to supernatural thriller “The Forest” from Lava Bear Films and David S. Goyer’s Phantom Four.
David Linde’s Lava Bear and Goyer — the screenwriter of the “Dark Knight” trilogy — tapped Jason Zada last fall to direct “The Forest,” set in Japan. Sarah Cornwell is re-writing the script.
Focus Features plans to release the film on January 8, 2016 — the first title to land on that date. Good Universe has partnered with Lava Bear to handle international sales on the film.
Linde, Goyer and Phantom Four’s Nellie Reed are the producers.
The movie is set in a forest called Aokigahara, a real-life place in Japan where people go to end their lives, where a young American woman comes in search of her twin sister who has mysteriously disappeared — only to be confronted by the angry souls of the dead who have perished in the forest.
The project marks the feature directorial debut for Zada, best known for the short film “Take This Lollipop.”
Goyer also wrote the “Man of Steel” script and is working on the upcoming “Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” He set up “The Forest” at Lava Bear last year.
Tory Metzger of Lava Bear will oversee the production of the film.
The deal was negotiated on behalf of Focus by Beth Lemberger with attorney David Boyle representing Lava Bear. Goyer is represented by WME and Zada is represented by UTA. Cornwell is repped by CAA.