Two weeks after its premiere at Sundance, the Roger Ebert documentary “Life Itself” has been acquired for U.S. distribution by Magnolia Pictures.
The deal covers theatrical, VOD and home entertainment rights. Magnolia is planning a summer release, followed by an exclusive broadcast on CNN later this year
The film, directed by Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”), is based on Ebert’s memoir and filmed largely during the last five months of his life.
Zak Piper, James and Garrett Basch produced the film. Martin Scorsese, Steven Zaillian, Michael W. Ferro Jr., Gordon Quinn, Justine Nagan, Kat White, Mark Mitten, Vinnie Malhotra and Amy Entelis exec produced.
The film began production in December, 2012, four months before Ebert’s death. CNN holds first-window broadcast rights to the film.
Variety’s Scott Foundas gave the film a strong review: “A life spent at the movies gets the cinematic epitaph it richly deserves in ‘Life Itself,’ documentarian Steve James’ meticulous and intensely emotional portrait of the late Roger Ebert.”
THR.com first reported the news.