Sold! Robert Lantos’s Barney’s Version gets American distributor
It’s a sad truth, but Canadian films often struggle to “make it” unless they have an American distributor. That’s why today’s news that Sony Pictures Classics has picked up all U.S. rights to Barney’s Version from producer Robert Lantos (Eastern Promises, Being Julia) before its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Friday (it’s also screening at TIFF) bodes well for the film’s box office prospects. The film is based on the Mordecai Richler book and stars Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Scott Speedman and Rosamund Pike.
Sony has acquired the rights to several other films screening at TIFF, including financial crisis doc Inside Job, French animated film The Illusionist and Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, so Lantos is in good company. “Several years before starting production on Barney’s Version, I approached Michael Barker and Tom Bernard. I told them about my relationship with Mordecai Richler and about how important this project was for me, and that I would not trust anyone other than Sony Classics to distribute it in America,” he said. “I am now delighted to place my film in their talented hands.” Here’s hoping the film will do well, but what Canadians really care about is how the movie measures up to the book.