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Film News Roundup: James Gunn’s Horror Movie ‘BrightBurn’ Moved to 2019

In today’s film news roundup, Sony moves James Gunn’s horror movie, Craig Sheffer gets a supernatural role, “Best Thanksgiving Ever” gets a release and Annapurna signs a music publishing deal.

DATE CHANGE

Sony has moved the previously untitled James Gunn horror project “BrightBurn” back from Nov. 30 of this year to May 24, 2019 — the start of the Memorial Day weekend.

The studio unveiled the name “BrightBurn” on Monday along with the date change. Gunn produced the project with The H Collective. “BrightBurn” stars Elizabeth Banks, Jackson Dunn, David Denman, Meredith Hagner, and Matt Jones. Gunn’s brother Brian Gunn and cousin Mark Gunn wrote the script, with David Yarovesky directing.

Gunn had been set to appear on a panel to discuss the project at San Diego Comic-Con in July, but his appearance was canceled after news broke that Disney had fired Gunn as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” due to offensive tweets.

Sony has yet to unveil plot details of “BrightBurn,” which will open against Disney’s live-action “Aladdin,” Warner Bros.’ video game adaptation “MineCraft” and Fox’s “Stuber,” starring Dave Bautista. Sony also announced it will now open horror film “The Possession of Hannah Grace” on Nov. 30.

CASTING

Craig Sheffer has joined the cast of “Sarah,” a supernatural coming of age film, which centers on a young girl who is a harboring a dark secret, Variety has learned exclusively.

Tallulah Evans portrays the title character. The film also stars Mary Stuart Masterson, Ava Allan, Valeria Cotto, Claudia Lee, Spencer List, Daniel Pinder, Andy Schrock, D.B. Sweeney and Virginia Madsen.

Sheffer, whose credits include “One Tree Hill” and “A River Runs Through It,” will be playing the sheriff with the belief the the title character is a practitioner of witchcraft and responsible for several unexplained deaths. He will also be the love interest of Masterson’s character.

“Sarah” is being directed by Alexander Garcia who wrote the screenplay and is also producing the film under his Multi-Valence Productions banner alongside producing partner Anne Stimac, Stuart Arbury and Michael Abrams.

Producers plan to release the film during the 2019 Halloween season through Vision Films. Sheffer is repped by Kramer Talent Agency.

THANKSGIVING RELEASE

Gravitas Ventures has set a Nov. 6 launch for the raunchy comedy “Best Thanksgiving Ever” on multiple digital platforms including iTunes and Amazon Prime Video.

First-time film maker David Paulus wrote and co-produced the film which stars Jay Seals, McKinley Freeman, Heather Adair, Tate Hanyok, Ashley Platz, Jayden Lund, Jordan Feldman, Leah Renee, the late Hollywood Jesus (Kevin Short), Eric Roberts, Ed O’Ross and Costas Mandylor. The film was scored by G Tom Mac.

Filmed in suburban Detroit and Los Angeles, the story focuses on Seals’ character suffering the holiday heartbreak of his life. When all seems lost however, his best friend (Paulus) comes to the rescue with what goes on to be a disastrous guys’ night out — loosely based on actual events.

MUSIC RIGHTS

Annapurna Pictures, which produced “Zero Dark Thirty,” “American Hustle” and “Phantom Thread,” has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Warner/Chappell Music.

WCM will represent and administer the rights to the indie film and TV company’s music publishing properties, including its musical compositions and scores. In partnership, the companies will work together to identify new opportunities for Annapurna’s portfolio of music in film, TV, advertising, games, and other media, as well as strategic collaborations with Warner/Chappell’s songwriters and catalogs.

Ron Broitman, executive vice president for Warner/Chappell, said, “We are excited to partner and produce amazing musical moments with the talented Annapurna team who similarly value creative ingenuity and share our ethos of putting our creative partners first.”

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