FilmDistrict sets date for ‘Insidious’

Horror pic set for April 1

FilmDistrict is expanding its footprint into the distribution game, with its first release, horror pic “Insidious,” set to bow wide April 1.

“Insidious” sparked a bidding war at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions the winner.

SPWA never announced which unit would handle U.S. distribution — some thought Sony’s genre label Screen Gems would take the reins — and FilmDistrict eventually landed the gig, as CEO Peter Schlessel, former head of SPWA, benefited from his Sony ties. Pic also marks the first film in FilmDistrict’s partnership with Netflix.

“Insidious” comes from “Saw” writer-director team of James Wan and Leigh Whannell and producers of “Paranormal Activity,” Oren Peli and Jason Blum. Pic, which stars Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey, returns the “Paranormal” creators to familiar territory with a story about a family haunted by vengeful spirits.

“With ‘Insidious,’ James and Leigh are redefining the haunted house genre,” Schlessel said in a statement. “By taking well-known horror movie conventions and elevating them to the next level, they’ve created a film that is fun, suspenseful and very, very scary.”

FilmDistrict and SPWA own all U.S. rights to the pic, which was financed by Alliance Films. Sony plans to handle all ancillary rights.

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