×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Magnolia Nabs Worldwide Rights to Obama Documentary ‘The Final Year’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Magnolia Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to “The Final Year,” a behind-the-scenes look at Barack Obama’s foreign policy team, Variety has learned. The HBO documentary was directed by Greg Barker. It unfolds during the 44th president’s last year in office, following America’s top diplomats and political advisors as they grapple with the rise of ISIS, try to hammer out a nuclear deal with Iran, and attempt to bring attention to the issue of global warming. The film profiles several key members of Obama’s staff, including Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Deputy National Security Adviser and presidential confidant Ben Rhodes, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and President Obama himself.

The movie had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before screening at the BFI London Film Festival. It will next show as the opening night selection of DOC NYC on Nov. 9. Magnolia plans to launch a multi-city theatrical release on Jan. 19th, 2018 — the anniversary of the presidential inauguration. That’s likely something of a painful memory for the people profiled in the film, most of whom were astounded by President Donald Trump’s White House victory (they’re often seen reassuring worried allies about “the Donald”). HBO will debut “The Final Year” on the network in the second quarter of 2018.

“Many television series and films have attempted to capture the triumphs and failures that occur daily within the West Wing, but none have taken as humanistic an approach as ‘The Final Year,'” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles in a statement. “Greg Barker has crafted an essential, fly-on-the-wall account of one of the most consequential years of any presidential administration.”

Barker has previously pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of government in “Manhunt: The Inside Story of the Hunt for Bin Laden,” a look at the CIA’s pursuit of the terrorist leader, and “Sergio,” the story of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello.

“In many ways this has been the most rewarding film of my career,” Barker said. “To have managed to secure an inside view of the true machinery of the American foreign policy machine was both a privilege and a responsibility, and to see audiences both inspired and moved by ‘The Final Year’ makes that journey all the more worthwhile and gratifying.”

The film was produced by Julie Goldman, John Battsek, and Barker. Production companies are Passion Pictures and Motto Pictures.

“We as filmmakers have always wanted the widest possible release for this film and we are thrilled that HBO has given us this opportunity and can think of no better partner than Magnolia in the U.S.,” Goldman and Battsek said.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia co-exec VP Dori Begley and Magnolia senior VP of acquisitions John Von Thaden, with Josh Braun of Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed. Magnolia Pictures International will be handling sales outside of the U.S.

More Film

  • 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 [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content