The film, directed by Jordan Roberts, centers on an American 8-year-old who declares to his parents that he is actually a Mongolian goat herder born in the wrong place. When he meets a similarly displaced Indian filmmaker, they journey east, seeking what they believe to be their true place in the world.
“It’s the same kind of quirky story as ‘Little Miss Sunshine,’ and we think mature audience will respond — particularly with an opening on the Oscar weekend,” said Mark Canton, who founded Cinelou in 2014 with Courtney Solomon.
“Burn Your Maps” is the fifth title from Cinelou, founded as a prestige label specializing in character-driven adult-targeted movies in the $10 million range. Since then, it’s released Jennifer Aniston’s dark comedy “Cake” and Eddie Murphy’s “Mr. Church” with Robert De Niro’s “The Comedian” set to open Jan. 13 through Sony Classics. “Cake” performed solidly in limited release with $2.9 million and Aniston received Golden Globe and SAG nominations. “Mister Church” was less successful with $685,000 via Freestyle.
On Wednesday, the Sundance Film Festival gave a competition slot on Jan. 21 to Cinelou’s military drama “The Yellow Birds,” starring Tye Sheridan, Jack Huston, Alden Ehrenreich, Jason Patric, Toni Collette, Jennifer Aniston. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling international distribution for a total of six Cinelou releases.
“Burn Your Maps,” which premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, will open in two New York and two Los Angeles theaters on Feb. 24 before widening to somewhere between 350 and 600 locations. Canton and Solomon assert that their focus on quality material provides Cinelou with the momentum to continue attracting top talent — with plans to announce three more movie projects next year.
“Actors are looking to do something besides superhero and franchise movies,” Solomon said. “And we’re really enjoying what we’re doing.”
Canton was a studio exec at Warner Bros. and was the chairman of Columbia Pictures in the 1990s. His producing credits include the “300” movies, “Immortals,” “The Spiderwick Chronicles” and “Escape Plan.”
Solomon was the head of genre specialist After Dark Films before joining Cinelou.