Film News Roundup: Aretha Franklin Biopic ‘Respect’ Pushed Back to Christmas

In today’s film news roundup, Jennifer Hudson’s “Respect” is moved back two months; another film festival is postponed; and “Lupin the Third: the First” and “Raising Buchanan” find distribution; and Prominent Productions launches.


MGM has moved the release date of Jennifer Hudson’s Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” from Oct. 9 to late in the awards seasons with a limited Christmas Day debut.

“Respect,” titled after Franklin’s 1967 hit, will expand Jan. 8 and go into wide release Jan. 15 at the start of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Hudson, who won a supporting actress Oscar for “Dreamgirls,” was personally selected for the role by Franklin before Franklin died in 2018 at the age of 76.

Franklin won 17 Grammys, starting with “Respect” in 1968 and “Chain of Fools” in 1969. The film, directed by Liesl Tommy, also stars Forest Whitaker as C.L. Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Mary J. Blige as Dinah Washington and Tituss Burgess as Rev. Dr. James Cleveland. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.


The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival has postponed its annual event due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sixth iteration of the festival, which was slated to take place over Memorial Day weekend, will now be held Sept. 16-20, 2020.

“Our hearts go out to all of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. After careful consideration, we have decided to postpone this year’s festival to a time we can reasonably hope this situation will be behind us,” said festival director Shira Dubrovner. “The health and well-being of our staff, filmmaker guests, festival attendees and community always comes first, and we will look forward to welcoming everyone to Mammoth Lakes later this year.”


GKids has acquired the North American distribution rights for the animated feature “Lupin the 3rd: The First” from director/screenwriter Takashi Yamazaki.

The film, released in 2019 in Japan, is based on the manga franchise about a master thief that began in 1967 and has spanned TV, games, a theme park ride and musical adaptations, including “The Castle of Cagliostro,” the 1979 feature film debut from director Hayao Miyazaki.

GKids will release “Lupin the 3rd: The First” theatrically in 2020 in both Japanese and an all-new English language dub. The deal for North American rights was negotiated by GKids president David Jesteadt and Sam Maseba for TMS Entertainment.


Gravitas Ventures has acquired black comedy “Raising Buchanan” from writer/director Bruce Dellis for release on digital platforms on May 5.

The story follows a desperate woman who steals the corpse of a former U.S. president in search of a payoff, and yet no one is particularly interested in getting him back. “Raising Buchanan” stars Amanda Melby, René Auberjonois, Cathy Shim, Robert Ben Garant, Terence Bernie Hines, Jennifer Pfalzgraff, Steve Briscoe, Lynnette “L.A.” Brown and M. Emmet Walsh.

“Raising Buchanan” is produced by Melby and Joe Gruberman. It’s inspired by the 1876 plot to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body, and the exhumation of Zachary Taylor in 1991.


Producers Autumn Bailey-Ford and Cameron Burnett have formed a new independent production company, Prominent Productions with offices in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Prominent Productions will focus on both independent and studio productions for film and television. Their mission is to create entertaining content geared towards a diverse audience and to tell stories that will uplift and impact positive change.

One of the first feature-film projects optioned by Prominent Productions was “The American Dream | HisStory In The Making” by David Lee Windecher, with screenwriter Justin Kohlas attached to adapt. The story centers on a young and poor immigrant, forced to do whatever he can to survive.


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