Lucky Red celebrates 30 years with ramped up production
ROME — Italy’s Lucky Red has acquired Italian rights to Ridley Scott-directed kidnap drama “All The Money in the World” from STX in the first announced sale of the hotly anticipated kidnapping thriller about the true 1973 abduction for ransom of J. Paul Getty III.
The potentially harrowing crime drama, which is currently shooting in Rome, stars Kevin Spacey as oil billionaire J. Paul Getty, who was reluctant to pay the ransom demanded by Italian kidnappers for his grandson; Michelle Williams as Gail Harris, the kidnapped teenager’s mother; Mark Wahlberg as the ex-CIA negotiator brought on board to help negotiate; and rising star Charlie Plummer in the role of J. Paul Getty III (pictured after his release) whose ear was cut off to coerce the family into paying.
In one of the standout deals of the Cannes market STX in May took international rights to the potentially harrowing crime drama produced by Imperative Entertainment and Scott-Free. Sony Pictures is handling North American and U.K. distribution.
Prominent Italian indie Lucky Red announced the “Money” acquisition on Monday during a Rome event to celebrate the 30 years of activity during which the company has released more than 400 titles on Italian screens. Their recent hits at the Italian box office include Mark Osborne’s animated “The Little Prince” and Italian director Gabriele Mainetti’s offbeat superhero movie “They Call Me Jeeg.”
Other recent Lucky Red pick ups include Steven Soderberg’s heist comedy “Logan Lucky,” from FilmNation; James Marsh-directed spy thriller “All the old Knives,” from Sierra Affinity; Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s Thai prison drama “A Prayer Before Dawn,” from HanWay; Nick Cassavetes’ mixed martial arts pic “Bruised,” from Sierra/infinity; Jon S. Baird’s “Stan and Ollie,” from Sierra Affinity and the BBC; and Tom Volf’s documentary “Maria by Callas,” from MK2.
At AFM Lucky Red bought Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” from FilmNation, marking their first Allen release in Italy where he is a big box- office draw.
“We’ve been the leading indie distributor in Italy for four consecutive years now,” noted Lucky Red chief executive Andrea Occhipinti during the packed presser. Top local distributors RAI Cinema and Medusa do not qualify as indies given that they are offshoots of big broadcasters RAI and Mediaset respectively.
Occhipinti underlined that while Lucky Red’s core business remains distribution they are ramping up their production side, primarily with Italian pics including the new as-yet-untitled project by “Jeeg” helmer Mainetti. “Lucky Red wants to become one of the main film production companies in Italy,” Occhipinti noted.
On the international side Lucky Red has boarded Asghar Farhadi’s upcoming Spanish-language thriller alongside France’s Memento, Spain’s Morena Films, and Italy’s RAI Cinema. The still untitled pic by the two-time Oscar-winning Iranian auteur will star Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Argentine star Ricardo Darin. It is scheduled to start shooting near Madrid in late August.
Lucky Red also has a theatrical exhibition side, being the main shareholder in the 130-screen Circuito Cinema arthouse circuit. They are partners with Indigo Film in sales company True Colours, jointly launched two years ago, which is getting traction. “Our goal is to become an integrated company active in all aspects of a film’s cycle, from production to foreign sales,” Occhipinti said.