A month after it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, Starz has purchased U.S. rights to Jason Bateman’s dark comedy “The Family Fang” and is planning to release the film theatrically in 2016, Variety has learned.
As part of the deal, Starz Digital will handle the dramedy’s digital, on-demand, and theatrical rollout. Starz’s Anchor Bay division will oversee the home video roll out following its theatrical run, and the film’s television premiere will take place on the Starz premium cable network.
“The Family Fang” is adapted from Kevin Wilson’s 2011 comic novel of the same name and stars Bateman and Nicole Kidman as siblings who reunite with their performance artist parents (Christopher Walken, Maryann Plunkett). A weekend of family dysfunction takes a detour after the parents suddenly go missing. The film is Bateman’s second as a director, following 2013’s “Bad Words.”
In a favorable review in Variety, Justin Chang said the directing was a step forward for Bateman, calling it “sharp and affecting.”
Starz has been ramping up its acquisitions operations. It recently released “Boulevard,” a Dito Montiel drama that featured one of Robin Williams’ final performances, and Amy Berg’s “Every Secret Thing” with Diane Lane, Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Banks. Its upcoming releases include “Tumbledown” with Rebecca Hall and Jason Sudeikis and “Momentum” with Olga Kurylenko and James Purefoy.
“The Family Fang” was one of the most buzzed about titles heading into the Toronto Film Festival.
“Jason Bateman continues to impress as a director,” said Brett Marottoli, vice president of acquisitions for Starz, in a statement. “‘The Family Fang’ is as moving as it is funny and features a stellar cast at the top of their game. We can’t wait to bring such an impassioned film to audiences.”
The screenplay was written by David Lindsay-Abaire (“Rabbit Hole”). The film has been financed by Red Crown Productions, the company behind “Beasts of No Nation.” It was produced by Red Crown’s Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Riva Marker, Blossom’s Kidman and Per Saari, Olympus Pictures’ Leslie Urdang and Dean Vanech and Aggregate Film’s Bateman and Jim Garavente. The film is executive produced by Red Crown’s Daniel Crown, Matthew Salloway and Christina Papagjika of West Madison Entertainment and Anne O’Shea of Minerva Productions. Kidman and Saari through their Blossom Films optioned the book and developed the script along with Olympus Pictures’ Urdang and Vanech.
CAA handled the deal.