×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Studios give chase to ‘Lola’

Sony Pictures Classics at 20 - The Stories Behind the Movies

Young German producer Stefan Arndt had just finished shooting a crazy low-budget movie about a girl racing through the streets of Berlin when the phone rang in his shabby office. It was Michael Barker, in town and keen to meet.

“He was one of my heroes! We just had a small office in a back yard. We quickly called our directors to come in, bought cake, cleaned up everything,” Arndt remembers. “He came to see us for two hours, just speaking about old movies and film history. It wasn’t a business meeting at all. He didn’t even know we were making ‘Run Lola Run.’ That’s just the way he works.

“He’s the first and still the only one of these bigger names in the business who ever called up like that and came to see us.”

By the time Tom Tykwer’s debut launched at Toronto, it ignited a U.S. bidding war, and that visit was one of the reasons why Arndt was willing to trust Sony Pictures Classics with the movie.

In fact, Arndt and Tykwer arrived late in Toronto because their plane had been diverted to Chicago, where they hopped a flight to Buffalo, N.Y., and grabbed the last rental car to drive across the border. Their film had already screened when they showed up at their budget hotel, where they found the lobby crammed with big-shot buyers.

“We had 2 1/2 days with no sleep, being chased around Toronto,” he says.

In the end, it came down to Miramax vs. SPC, with Harvey Weinstein diverting from a trip to Los Angeles in a bid to seal the deal. But Arndt balked at committing Tykwer to a long production deal at Miramax and chose to go with Barker.

“We knew Michael before, and on that wonderful night when we made our decision, it’s (because) we trusted him.”

But when they took the film to Sundance, Arndt admits to a moment of doubt. “We came down to the breakfast room, and there was Michael Barker and everyone important, all reading the New York Times. Michael showed me a full-page ad they had taken for ‘Run Lola Run,’ and I lost all the blood in my head. I started shouting at Michael, ‘What have you done? You’ve spent more than our entire P&A budget!’

“But it turned out Michael knew about a special edition when an ad cost nearly nothing, and it just happened to come out during Sundance when everyone in the industry would be reading it. He knows every trick — it’s why he’s so incredible at what he does.”

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS AT 20
Steady as she grows | Shrewd handling yields real profits | SPC mines foreign gold | Despite illness’ gloom, Bloom integral to company
The Stories Behind the Movies
“Capote” | “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” | “The Fog Of War” | “The Lives of Others” | “Rachel Getting Married” | “Run Lola Run”
The Collaborators
Agustin Almodovar | Lone Scherfig

More Film

  • Aladdin

    Box Office: 'Aladdin' Taking Flight With $105 Million in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is flying high with an estimated $105 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend. It’s the sixth-highest Memorial Day weekend total ever, topping the 2011 mark of $103.4 million for “The Hangover Part II.” The top total came in 2007, when “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” [...]

  • Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special

    Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special Mention Winner ‘Monster God’

    CANNES – An exploration of the ramifications of God, “Monster God,” from Argentina’s Agustina San Martín, took a Special Mention – an effective runner’s up prize – on Saturday night at this year’s Cannes Film Festival short film competition. It’s not difficult to see why, especially when jury president Claire Denis own films’ power resists [...]

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content