‘Prairie’ finds companion

Picturehouse acquires Altman film

Picturehouse, the joint venture between New Line and HBO Films headed by Bob Berney, has picked up North American rights to Robert Altman’s bigscreen spinoff of Garrison Keillor’s U.S. radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Picturehouse won a bidding war for Altman’s film in a deal said to be worth around $3.75 million. The specialty film banner first saw the pic when it screened for distribs Thursday in New York. Another screening unspooled Friday in Los Angeles.

Pic’s ensemble cast includes Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Kevin Kline, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly and Maya Rudolph.

Berney said he envisions releasing the film between late April and early June. He added he would aim the pic in part at “people who don’t go to every movie but will come out if they find something — the underserved older audience.”

Keillor adapted the project for the bigscreen. Altman’s Sandcastle 5 Prods. produced the pic, which was financed and exec produced by Gotham-based GreeneStreet Films and River Road Entertainment.

Pic — which lensed in St. Paul, Minn. — is based on the fictionalized premise that Keillor’s multi-award-winning show, carried on 500 radio stations domestically, is being shut down after three decades. Plot centers on an ensemble of performers, musicians and backstage crew busily prepping for a final live broadcast of “Prairie.”

Picturehouse is in current release with Giddi Dar’s Israeli import “Ushpizin.” Company’s upcoming slate includes “The Notorious Bettie Page,” “Fur” and “Factotem.”

Capitol Films is repping international rights.

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