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TriStar, FilmDistrict set ‘Looper’ deal

Time travel action to get U.S. release

Endgame Entertainment and FilmDistrict have closed a deal for the theatrical release of Rian Johnson’s time-travel actioner “Looper,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt.

Deal closed Sunday at Cannes. The transaction calls for “Looper” to be released in the U.S. through FilmDistrict’s relationship with Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Tri Star label.

It’s the third deal that FilmDistrict’s struck at Cannes after acquiring U.S. rights to ”Arabian Nights” and romantic comedy ”Playing the Field.” Sony was also in talks Saturday at Cannes for acquiring North American rights to “Great Hope Spprings,” starring Meryl Streep.

Rian Johnson (“The Brothers Bloom,” “Brick”) directed “Looper” from his own script. Project reunited Johnson with producer Ram Bergman, who produced Johnson’s previous two films, and Endgame Entertainment’s James D. Stern, who financed and produced “The Brothers Bloom.”

Stern is producing “Looper” in association with DMG and Endgame’s Doug E. Hansen is exec producing.

“‘Looper’ is our second collaboration with Rian and Ram and it’s truly been a thrilling ride,” Stern said. “We look forward to continuing the journey with Sony and Peter in delivering this commercial thriller to audiences everywhere.”

Peter Schlessel, CEO of FilmDistrict said: “We have been chasing Looper for six months and it is something my entire team agreed would be a great film for us to distribute. The fact that our friends at Sony feel the same makes it even more exciting.”

Bergman noted Sunday that Tri Star handled the release of 2009’s surprise hit, sci-fier “District 9.”

“Looper” centers on a killer (Gordon-Levitt) who works for the mob of the future and disposes of people that are sent from the future. When he recognizes one victim as his future self (Willis), he hesitates, letting the man escape.

FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales.

FilmDistrict launched seven months ago with Graham King and Tim Headington unveiling the distribution operation and its first two films were “Soul Surfer” and “Insidious.” FilmDistrict has also struck a multiyear pact with Netflix for Web streaming of its feature films, bypassing a traditional pay cable output deal.

CAA negotiated the “Looper” deal on behalf of Endgame Entertainment and Adrian Alperovich, president of acquisitions, negotiated on behalf FilmDistrict.

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