Lionsgate made a major move today by grabbing U.S. distribution rights to The Last Exorcism, a verite-style horror pic originally titled Cotton that was produced by Strike Entertainment, StudioCanal and genre maven Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever). The deal is said to include a high-six-figure advance and a $16 million P&A commitment — meaning big time theatrical release. Helmed by German director and AFI grad Daniel Stamm,the flick stars Patrick Fabian as a troubled evangelical minister who allows his final exorcism to be filmed by a documentary crew. It will premiere at the SXSW Film Festival this March.
The project, which shot in Louisiana, has had horror fan sites salivating for months at the prospect of a scary, shaky-cam-style film shepherded by “Hostel” helmer Roth.
“Mail Order Wife” helmers Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland scripted. (At an early stage, they also were attached to direct.)
Producers Eric Newman, Marc Abraham, Tom Bliss and Roth showed the pic to buyers in mid January, drawing offers from nearly every major and mini-major. Lionsgate was presumed to be a front-runner for “Exorcism” from the get-go, given the distrib is a horror haven and released Roth’s first feature, “Cabin Fever,” as well as the “Hostel” films.
“It’s always great to work with our friend Eli, who has played a key role in establishing Lionsgate in the vanguard of the horror genre,” said Jason Constantine, Lionsgate’s prexy of acquisitions and co-productions. “‘The Last Exorcism’ feels as close to a real exorcism as anyone would ever want to get — audiences are going to find this movie scary as, well, hell.”
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