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Film News Roundup: Clarence Thomas Documentary to Get Theatrical Release

In today’s film news roundup, a Clarence Thomas documentary and “Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always” are getting theatrical releases, and Lionsgate is developing a Rabbids movie.

RELEASE DATES

Manifold Productions has slated “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words” to open in theaters nationwide on Jan. 31, Variety has learned exclusively.

The documentary about the conservative U.S. Supreme Court justice will play on at least 50 screens. The film was directed, written and produced by Michael Pack, with Gina Cappo Pack as executive producer. The producers interviewed Thomas and his wife, Virginia, for over 30 hours.

The documentary will air on PBS next year, at least three months after the theatrical release. Thomas denies allegations he sexually harassed law professor Anita Hill. The accusations emerged during his U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 1991 before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“His intellectual journey is just as remarkable,” Pack said. “He was raised by his grandfather with strict discipline, taught by Catholic nuns in parochial schools, yet rebelled and became a ’60s radical who supported the Black Panthers, only to rethink his way back to his traditional beginnings, in the end going to work for Ronald Reagan, as a rare African American conservative, and now serving as one of the most influential justices on the Supreme Court, whether you agree with him or not.”

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Pack’s recent credits include “The Birth of Nuclear Power,” narrated by Joan Allen (2014); “Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton,” hosted by Richard Brookhiser (2011); “God and the Inner City,” narrated by Phylicia Rashad (2003); and “Rediscovering George Washington,” hosted by Richard Brookhiser (2002). All have been nationally broadcast on PBS.


Focus Features will release the teen drama “Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always” on March 13 in North America.

Universal Pictures International will launch it internationally, excluding U.K. TV rights, which are retained by BBC Films. 

Written and directed by Eliza Hittman, the film is an intimate portrayal of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania. Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) embark across state lines to New York City on a fraught journey of friendship, bravery and compassion

Hittman directed “Beach Rats.” The pic also stars Théodore Pellerin, Ryan Eggold and Sharon Van Etten. The producers are Pastel’s Adele Romanski and Sara Murphy.

DEVELOPMENT

Lionsgate has closed motion picture rights to produce a live-action/animated-hybrid movie based on Ubisoft’s Rabbids franchise.

Mandeville Films’ Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman are producing with Jason Altman and Margaret Boykin for Ubisoft Film & Television. The studio and producers are in advanced talks with Todd Strauss-Schulson to direct.

Strauss-Schulson’s credits include “Isn’t It Romantic,” starring Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth, “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” and “Final Girls.” The “Rabbids” screenplay is written by Matt Senreich, Tom Sheppard & Zeb Wells, and was revised by Todd Rosenberg.

Rabbids video games have sold more than 15 million units to date and the animated television show airs in more than 110 countries. The news was first reported by Deadline.

CHRISTMAS MOVIE

Grammy and Oscar winners Christopher Cerf and Robert L. Smith have signed on to the 2020 holiday comedy “The Truth About Santa Claus,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Cerf will compose and Smith will produce music for the film, which stars Olivia Hamilton and Chris Bayon.

The movie centers on a man who has a run-in with Santa Claus that leaves him with a strange ability.

The pic is produced by Maria Akay, Kim Tank, Arjan Raven and Rabia Sultana for Two Touch Productions. “The Truth About Santa Claus” was written, directed and executive produced by Chris Bayon.

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