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Rian Johnson’s ‘Knives Out’ Sells to KKR’s New Distribution Company in Germany

Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” has been picked up for Germany by the newly established distribution company owned by New York-based private equity group KKR. Fred Kogel’s rapidly growing, but still unnamed, German independent production and distribution operation has taken all rights for Germany and Austria on the all-star whodunnit, which stars Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas and Christopher Plummer.

The KKR-backed studio was formed following the global investment group’s acquisitions earlier this year of Tele Munchen Group, Universum Film, i&u TV and Wiedemann & Berg Film. KKR acquired Tele München Group in February, followed just days later by German producer and distributor Universum Film. In April the company added leading German film production company Wiedemann & Berg Film, the company behind the Oscar-winning “The Lives of Others” and last year’s Oscar-nominated “Never Look Away,” to its portfolio. Kogel serves as CEO of the new company.

The “Knives Out” acquisition marks the latest major pick-up for the fledgling distributor joining a roster of titles taken during Cannes, including Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi disaster movie “Moonfall”; Robert Lorenz’s thriller “Minuteman,” starring Liam Neeson; Philip John’s comedy “Let There Be Rock”; and Derrick Borte’s road rage thriller “Unhinged,” starring Russell Crowe

“Knives Out” will receive its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. It was announced Monday that it would receive its European premiere with a gala presentation at the BFI London Film Festival on Oct. 8.

The movie comes from Lionsgate and MRC, and pays tribute to mystery mastermind Agatha Christie. It revolves around the family of crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Plummer) who are all suspects after the author is found dead. Debonair detective Benoit Blanc (Craig) is enlisted to investigate, sifting through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth with the help of his partner (Stanfield). It opens through Lionsgate in the U.S. on Nov. 27.

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