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Baltasar Kormakur’s ‘Everest’ to Open Venice Film Festival

Baltasar Kormakur’s mountain climbing thriller “Everest,” which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, will open the 72nd Venice Film Festival.

Buzz pic, set to bow out of competition on the Lido September 2, recaps the 1996 multi-expedition assault on Everest that left eight climbers dead. Gyllenhaal plays Scott Fischer, with Jason Clarke as Rob Hall, Josh Brolin as Beck Weathers, and John Hawkes as Doug Hansen.

It marks a nice coup for Venice artistic director topper Alberto Barbera, following “Birdman” as opener last year, and sci-fi thriller “Gravity” in 2013.

Euro exhibitors who got a closed-door screening of “Everest” at the CineEurope meet in Barcelona last week were impressed.

Producers are Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Baltasar Kormakur, Nicky Kentish Barnes, and Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson.

Jon Krakauer’s bestseller “Into Thin Air” chronicled the commercial expeditions that were caught in a blizzard on the mountain, but is not the basis for the film. “Everest” was adapted for the screen by Mark Medoff (“Children of a Lesser God”) and Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”).

“Everest,” which Universal will distribute worldwide, was shot on location in Nepal on the foothills of Everest, also in the Italian Alps, and at Cinecittà Studios in Rome and Pinewood Studios in the U.K. In the U.S. it will be released on September 18 exclusively on Imax 3D and premium-large format 3D screens and then go wide, including standard 2D and 3D, on September 25. The Italian release will be on September 24.

The Venice Film Festival runs Sept. 2-12. “Gravity” director Alfonso Cuaron will head the main jury, as previously announced.

The full lineup will be announced July 29.

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