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Film News Roundup: ‘Apollo 11’ Re-Release Set for Moon Landing Anniversary

In today’s film news roundup, Neon is re-releasing “Apollo 11”; “Sesame Street” gets moved; “Supersize Me 2” is set for Sept. 13; Will Ropp gets a “Silk Road” deal; and Apple makes a movie deal.

RE-LAUNCH

Neon will re-release Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary “Apollo 11” in theaters on July 20, the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

The run will also include weeklong engagements and special one-off showings in more than 100 theaters across top markets including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Miami.

“Apollo 11,” which was crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where it won the editing prize.  The film, which opened in theaters on March 1, will cross $9 million after the weekend’s anniversary re-launch and remains the top grossing documentary of the year. It’s also the top grossing 2019 documentary in the UK with more than $1 million to date.

RELEASE DATES

Popular on Variety

Warner Bros. has moved its live-action adaptation of “Sesame Street” from Jan. 15, 2021, to June 4, 2021.

“Portlandia” director and co-creator Jonathan Krisel is helming the musical, co-financed by Warner Bros. and MGM. Also attached to the film is star Anne Hathaway and producers Shawn Levy and Michael Aguilar. Sesame Workshop, which holds the rights to the show, will also be involved in the development of the movie.

The story follows the Sesame Street characters after they are mysteriously expelled from their own neighborhood, forcing them to collaborate with Hathaway’s show-host character Sally Hawthorne to prove that Sesame Street actually exists.

The educational series first premiered in 1969 with a combination of live-action puppetry and animation and is the home of the Jim Henson creations Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster and Elmo.

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Samuel Goldwyn Films has set a Sept. 13 release date for Morgan Spurlock’s “Supersize Me 2: Holy Chicken!”

The film is opening 13 years after Spurlock’s “Supersize Me,” in which he ate only McDonalds fast-food items for 30 days. “Supersize Me” grossed an impressive $22 million on a $650,000 budget.

With chain restaurants touting food that’s “healthy,” “organic,” and “natural,” Spurlock explores this new reality in the sequel by setting out to open his own chicken franchise, raising poultry, conjuring recipes, designing the brand and scouting locations along the way.

CASTING

Will Ropp has joined the true crime feature “Silk Road” opposite Jason Clarke, Nick Robinson, Alexandra Shipp and Darrell Britt-Gibson, Variety has learned exclusively.

Robinson is portraying a criminal mastermind alongside Clarke who plays an agent intent on bringing down the young kingpin’s billion-dollar empire. Ropp will play a DEA agent who thinks Clarke’s character is a relic of a previous era.

Tiller Russell is writing and directing the project, based on the Rolling Stone article “Dead End On Silk Road” by David Kushner. Producing are Duncan Montgomery and Jack Selby via the High Frequency Entertainment banner, Alex Orlovsky and Elika Portnoy for Mutressa Movies, and David Hyman and Stephen Gans on behalf of Perfect Season Productions.

Sierra/Affinity is selling international and Endeavor Content reps domestic. Ropp’s credits include “Crazy for the Boys” and the upcoming Ben Affleck basketball-coach drama “Torrance.” Ropp is represented by CESD, Corner Booth Entertainment and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson.

APPLE DEAL

Apple has bought worldwide rights to “The Banker,” the drama starring Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nia Long and Nicholas Hoult.

“The Banker” will join Apple’s upcoming slate of films, documentaries and series on Apple TV+. The film follows Mackie and Jackson’s charracters as they try to circumvent the racial limitations of the 1950s by recruiting a working class white man, played by Hoult, to pose as the head of their business empire while they take on fake janitor and chauffeur roles to monitor their businesses.

“The Banker” is directed by George Nolfi and produced by Joel Viertel. Brad Feinstein produces through his Romulus Entertainment, alongside fellow producers Nolfi, Mackie, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jonathan Baker and David Smith. The film is written by Niceole Levy, Nolfi, David Smith and Stan Younger. Endeavor Content represented the sale of the film.

Apple’s slate of feature films includes “The Elephant Queen,” animated movie “Wolfwalkers” and “On the Rocks,” an Apple and A24 film directed by Sofia Coppola. New was first reported by Deadline.

 

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