×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Aretha Franklin Documentary ‘Amazing Grace’ Bought by Neon

Neon has acquired the North American rights to the Aretha Franklin documentary “Amazing Grace,” a month after the movie premiered at DOC NYC.

Neon said it’s planning an early 2019 theatrical release.

The film, shot in 1972 by Sydney Pollack at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, was originally planned by Warner Bros. Pictures as a companion documentary to the double live album “Amazing Grace,” which became Franklin’s best-selling album, but technical issues prevented the release of the pic.

Producer Alan Elliott acquired the movie rights in 2007 and worked with a team of producers, including Joe Boyd, Robert Johnson, Chiemi Karasawa, Sabrina Owens, Jerry Wexler, Tirrell D. Whittley, and Joseph Woolf. Franklin, who died in August, went to court repeatedly to stop its release. “Amazing Grace” is being launched with the support of Franklin’s estate.

The movie includes an 11-minute version of “Amazing Grace,” “Mary Don’t You Weep,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “Precious Memories,” Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” and Marvin Gaye’s “Wholy Holy.”

Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman praised the movie in his review: “She sounds like the holiest of trumpets, with every note piercingly bright yet as soft as velvet. Listening to Franklin, you feel like you could ride that voice into the heavens. She’s not just a singer, she’s a human chariot.”

Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece and personal representative of the Aretha Franklin estate, said, “’Amazing Grace’ is the heart and soul of Aretha Franklin. This film is authentic and is my aunt to her core. Our family couldn’t be more excited for audiences to experience the genius of her work and spirit through this film.”

“Amazing Grace” also screened on Nov. 15 at the AFI Fest. The deal was negotiated by Neon and Endeavor Content on behalf of filmmakers.

Neon released Tim Wardle’s documentary “Three Identical Strangers,” which grossed almost $13 million at the North American box office. It’s also launching Brady Corbet’s “Vox Lux,” starring Natalie Portman, this weekend.

More Film

  • The Realm review

    Palm Springs Review: 'The Realm'

    The notion that government is one big con directing money into already well-lined pockets is confirmed and then some in “The Realm.” Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s “Michael Clayton”-like thriller has struck a chord in Spain, where the persistence of corruption in the post-Franco era is a popular topic bordering on obsession. But are examples of corruption just [...]

  • Fig Tree review

    Palm Springs Reviews: 'Fig Tree'

    It’s a question integral to much of the current international immigration debate: When war breaks out, who gets to flee and who’s left with nowhere to run? As a child, writer-director Aalam-Warqe Davidian was among a majority of Ethiopian Jews who emigrated to Israel. In her loosely autobiographical feature debut, a teenager facing similar circumstances [...]

  • Jeff BridgesJeff Bridges, who stars in

    Film News Roundup: Jeff Bridges Wins American Society of Cinematographers Honor

    In today’s film news roundup, Jeff Bridges is honored by cinematographers, the “Arctic” filmmakers get a first-look deal and releases are set for “Vault,” the Seth Rogen-Charlize Theron comedy and “What Lies Ahead.” BRIDGES HONORED The American Society of Cinematographers has selected Jeff Bridges as the recipient of the organizations’ 2019 Board of Governors Award. [...]

  • Cate Blanchett's 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette'

    Cate Blanchett's 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' Moved Back to August

    Annapurna Pictures has moved its Richard Linklater literary adaptation “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” starring Cate Blanchett back five months from March 22 to an Aug. 9 release. A rep for Annapurna explained that August has served well as a launching pad for release of female-skewing films such as “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Florence Foster Jenkins” and [...]

  • Kumail Nanjiani Issa Rae

    Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae to Star in 'Lovebirds' Romantic Comedy

    “The Big Sick” star Kumail Nanjiani and “Insecure” star Issa Rae will topline Paramount’s romantic comedy “The Lovebirds.” The project will reunite Nanjiani with “The Big Sick” helmer Michael Showalter, who’s on board to direct from a script by Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall, and Martin Gero. The project goes into production at the end of [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized by the [...]

  • 'The Pledge' Review

    Film Review: 'Pledge'

    “Privilege comes with sacrifice” says one character to another in “Pledge” — exactly the kind of noble sentiment authority figures always voice to hush the protests of those about to be sacrificed. This third feature for director Daniel Robbins is no delicate flower of cinematic art, but a lean and mean shocker that tells its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content