Fans of 2013’s surprisingly very decent “Drinking Buddies” will be rapt to hear that director Joe Swanberg’s next, “Happy Christmas” will likely get a much wider release than his previous offering. Paramount and Magnolia are teaming to distribute the film, which features “Drinking Buddies” alum Anna Kendrick, as well as “Girls” creator and star Lena Dunham.
Press release follows :
Park City, UT (January 16, 2014) – The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures and Paramount Pictures announced today a collaboration to bring HAPPY CHRISTMAS to theatrical and home viewing audiences. The new film, written and directed by Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies) and produced by Swanberg, Peter Gilbert and co-produced by Alicia Van Couvering, will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this Sunday. HAPPY CHRISTMAS stars Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham and Swanberg.
Magnolia Pictures is handling U.S. theatrical and VOD distribution, while Paramount Home Media Distribution will handle U.S. physical home entertainment and all international rights.
Anna Kendrick plays Jenny, an irresponsible 20-something who comes to Chicago to live with her older brother Jeff (Swanberg), a young filmmaker living a happy existence with his novelist wife Kelly (Lynskey) and their two-year-old son. Jenny’s arrival shakes up their quiet domesticity as she and her friend Carson (Dunham) instigate an evolution in Kelly’s life and career. Meanwhile, Jenny strikes up a rocky relationship with the family’s baby sitter-cum-pot dealer (Webber).
This is Kendrick’s second collaboration with Joe Swanberg following Drinking Buddies, also distributed by Magnolia. As in Drinking Buddies, Swanberg’s unique improvisational techniques in HAPPY CHRISTMAS create a dramatic experience full of naturalism, humor and warmth.
“I’m excited to continue my relationship with the innovative people at Magnolia and to start a new relationship with Paramount,” said Swanberg. “HAPPY CHRISTMAS is a personal and important film for me and I can’t imagine better partners to help connect it with audiences around the world.”
“We’re thrilled to be in business with Joe again on this lovely gem of a film,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “Joe’s skill with actors is formidable, and this terrific cast gives wonderful performances all around.”
“We are looking forward to bringing this original, fresh film to home viewing audiences in the U.S. and internationally,” said Syrinthia Studer, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Acquisitions, Paramount Home Media Distribution. “HAPPY CHRISTMAS has broad appeal, an exceptional cast and an engaging story that we believe will be well received both here and abroad.”
The deal was negotiated by Paramount Home Media Distribution, Magnolia SVP of Acquisitions
Dori Begley and Magnolia VP of Acquisitions Peter Van Steemburg, with Swanberg, Alicia Van Couvering and André Des Rochers of Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers LLP on behalf of the filmmakers.
Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical release in the summer of 2014.