Peter Sarsgaard’s ‘Experimenter’ Bought by Magnolia for U.S. (EXCLUSIVE)

Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to Michael Almereyda’s drama “Experimenter,” starring Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder.

Magnolia is planning a theatrical release later this year.

The film portrays Stanley Milgram’s experiment, in which subjects were made to believe they were administering electric shocks to others in order to test why people will cede to authority. The San Francisco International Film Festival announced Wednesday that “Experimenter” would be its closing-night film on May 7.

“Experimenter” premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival. The cast includes Jim Gaffigan, Taryn Manning, Anton Yelchin, Kellan Lutz, John Leguizamo, Anthony Edwards, Josh Hamilton, Lori Singer, Vondie Curtis-Hall and Dennis Haysbert. The film was produced by Uri Singer, Fabio Golombek, Isen Robbins and Aimee Schoof.

Variety‘s Scott Foundas gave “Experimenter” a strong review, calling it “highly formal, always fascinating.”

Milgram, a social psychologist, conducted the “obedience experiments” at Yale University in 1961. The experiments observed the responses of ordinary people asked to send harmful electrical shocks to a stranger. Despite pleadings from the person they were shocking, 65% of subjects obeyed commands from a lab-coated authority figure to deliver potentially fatal currents — leading to accusations that Milgram was a deceptive, manipulative monster.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia’s John Von Thaden with Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers.

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