The film, directed by Paul Weitz, was originally set up at Sony Pictures and slated to release theatrically on April 16. However, the studio has negotiated a licensing deal with Netflix (excluding China) as nearly 50% of U.S. cinemas remain shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Fatherhood” will now debut on the streaming platform on June 18.
With the move to Netflix, Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground have boarded the movie. Dana Stevens (“City of Angels,” “Safe Haven”) wrote the script with Weitz.
Sony has offloaded a few films during the pandemic, including Seth Rogen’s “An American Pickle” to HBO Max and the Kristen Stewart-led romantic comedy “Happiest Season” to Hulu. At the same time, Netflix has been an active buyer, acquiring titles like Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” romantic comedy “The Lovebirds” and animated kids film “My Little Pony.”
For Hart, “Fatherhood” represents a chance to show off his serious side. The film, a big-screen adaptation of Matthew Logelin’s best-seller, centers on a widower who must raise his daughter after his wife dies in childbirth. The cast also includes Alfre Woodard, Lil Rel Howery, DeWanda Wise and Anthony Carrigan.
Hart will produce the film with Marty Bowen, David Beaubaire and Peter Kiernan. Executive producers are Betsy Danbury, Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth, Bryan Smiley, Jaclyn Huntling Swatt, Isaac Klausner, Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin.
Earlier this year, Hart and his HartBeat Productions banner inked a first-look film pact with Netflix. However, “Fatherhood” was independently licensed and not part of the overall deal.
Hart is represented by UTA, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Schrek Rose. Weitz is represented by UTA and attorney Alex Kohner at Morris Yorn. Stevens is represented by UTA and attorney Wendy Kirk at Ziffren Brittenham.