×
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

  • Svensk Filmindustri SF Studios logo

    Warner Bros, SF Studios Expand Distribution Deal Across Scandinavia

    Warner Bros. Pictures has expanded its distribution deal with SF Studios to include Sweden and have their movies released by the Nordic major through all of Scandinavia. Warner Bros. Pictures already has a distribution pact with SF Studios in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Under the partnership, SF Studios has been handling the sales, marketing and [...]

  • Nicole Kidman Meryl Streep

    Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman to Star in Ryan Murphy's 'The Prom' at Netflix

    Ryan Murphy enlisted a star-studded cast for his upcoming Netflix movie “The Prom,” an adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Awkwafina, James Corden, Ariana Grande, Keegan-Michael Key and Andrew Rannells are among the A-listers bringing “The Prom” to screens. “The Prom” follows a lesbian student in the fictional conservative town of [...]

  • Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Vaclav

    Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Václav Havel Biopic

    Viktor Dvorak has been cast in “Havel,” a biopic of Václav Havel, as the Czech playwright, dissident and national leader. Anna Geislerova, who starred in Oscar nominated “Zelary,” plays his wife, Olga Havlova. Jiri Bartoska, the president of Karlovy Vary Film Festival, will appear in the film as “Professor,” inspired by Czech philosopher Jan Patocka. [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    'Bond 25' First Footage Sees Daniel Craig Back as 007

    After suffering a series of setbacks, including finding a new director and Daniel Craig’s on-set injury, “Bond 25” production is officially underway. A new behind-the-scenes clip of the upcoming James Bond film features Craig and helmer Cary Joji Fukunaga at work in the Caribbean. The minute-long footage didn’t reveal much about the still-untitled movie, though [...]

  • (L to R) Marco Graf as

    ‘Roma,’ ‘The Good Girls’ Top Mexico’s Ariel Academy Awards

    The Mexican Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences hosted the 61st edition of their Ariel Awards on Monday evening, where Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” and Alejandra Márquez Abella’s “The Good Girls” stood out among the winners. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Cuarón’s “Roma” scooping best picture is that it’s only the second of his films to [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Already Pulled From Shanghai Festival, 'The Eight Hundred' Cancels Its China Release

    Already pulled from its prestigious spot as the opener of the Shanghai International Film Festival, war epic “The Eight Hundred” has been dealt a further below with the cancellation of its scheduled release in China next week. In a terse announcement on its official Weibo account, the film said late Tuesday that, “after consultation between [...]

  • Méndez Esparza, Fernando Franco, Villaronga Projects

    Projects By Mendez Esparza, Fernando Franco and Villaronga at Small Is Biutiful

    Antonio Méndez Esparza’s “Que nadie duerma,” Fernando Franco’s “La consagración de la primavera” and Agustí Villaronga’s “3.000 obstáculos” figure among the seven projects to be pitched at Paris’ Small Is Biutiful forum. The closing event for the alternative Spanish film festival Dífferent 12!, Small Is Biutiful takes place June 26, bringing together French distributors and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content