Michael Moore’s ‘Where To Invade Next’ Acquired By Radius Pair & Drafthouse Founder’s New Label
Former Radius-TWC founders and co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego are teaming with Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League to form a new distribution label — and they have made a splashy first deal for their first release: Michael Moore’s latest documentary Where To Invade Next, one of the highest-profile pics at the just-wrapped Toronto Film Festival.
The new label, which does not have a name yet, said it will release the docu in December.
In August, Quinn and Janego exited their posts at The Weinstein Company-based multi-platform label they launched in 2011, shepherding hits like Snowpiercer and winning the docu Oscar for 20 Feet From Stardom. At the time of their announced exit, it was understood they were in early discussions with TWC to stake them in a Sony Pictures Classics-like distribution entity that focuses on theatrical releases with prestige films.
The pickup of Where To Invade Next kicks off the new venture; more details about the new venture will be revealed at a later date, the principals said today.
“Together with Michael Moore and his extraordinary new film we hope to remind Americans they have the inalienable right to laugh, especially in an election year,” Quinn and Janego said. “We’re thrilled about our new label and can’t think of a better film or filmmaker to launch with.”
Moore’s latest docu explores the current state of the nation and screens Friday at the New York Film Festival after bowing at Toronto.
Michael Moore's Documentary to be Distributed by Tom Quinn, Jason Janego's New Company
The former heads of Radius-TWC will team with Alamo Drafthouse Founder and CEO Tim League in the new venture.
Former RADiUS Founders and Co-Presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego are teaming with Alamo Drafthouse Founder and CEO Tim League to form a new distribution label and release Michael Moore's doc Where to Invade Next in North America.
In Where to Invade Next, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Moore tours various countries in Europe as well as Tunisia to learn of the progressive ways they deal with various social issues, implicitly drawing a comparison to areas in which the United States has fallen behind. The film screens next at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 2.
"Together with Michael Moore and his extraordinary new film we hope to remind Americans they have the inalienable right to laugh, especially in an election year. We're thrilled about our new label and can't think of a better film or filmmaker to launch with," said a statement from Quinn, Janego and League.
The company name and details of the new venture will be revealed at a later date.
The premise of Where to Invade Next was kept under wraps until the first screening Thursday, Sept. 10. Moore produced the film with Academy Award-nominated documentarians Carl Deal and Tia Lessin (Trouble the Water).
All the big domestic buyers were in attendance at the premiere in Toronto, and the doc also was shown at private screenings in Los Angeles to buyers ahead of its premiere in Toronto. But sources say interest cooled from theatrical distributors after the screening. During the festival, Moore told THR he was fielding bids from multiple parties, and was also hearing marketing pitches before he would make his decision.
While Netflix was interested, multiple sources say Moore was insisting on a theatrical play, and was looking for a deal that would get the movie into theaters.
“We want it to be seen by as many people as possible in theaters,” he told THR at the festival. “It makes a big difference when you see it in a big theater with 100 people rather than in front of your computer.”
Quinn and Janego have yet to unveil details about their new company, but indicated when they stepped down from specialty distributor Radius that they planned to remain involved in the indie film distribution business. During their time at Radius, which launched as a boutique label under The Weinstein Company umbrella in 2013, they handled the past two documentary feature Oscar winners, 20 Feet from Stardom and Citizenfour.
Where to Invade Next was co-produced by Dog Eat Dog Films and IMG Films, and is repped by WME.
In the announcement of the deal, Moore described his new distributor as a "cinematic Dream Team, consisting of three of this country's most beloved film geeks and movie advocates, individuals who are much-admired by the indie filmmaking community. It is clear to me that they want to forge something new for a new century. They decided it was time to rethink the way movies are made, doing it with filmmakers who create their best work in a supportive environment, unfettered by a traditional studio system. I believe that Tom, Jason, and Tim, are poised to revolutionize film distribution by creating an entirely different movie-going experience for the audience."
Michael Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next’ Goes to New Distribution Label
Michael Moore has chosen a new distributor for his documentary “Where to Invade Next,” three weeks after the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
Former Radius Founders and Co-Presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego are teaming with Alamo Drafthouse Founder and CEO Tim League to form the yet-to-be-named distribution label.
Quinn, Janego and League stated: “Together with Michael Moore and his extraordinary new film we hope to remind Americans they have the inalienable right to laugh, especially in an election year. We’re thrilled about our new label and can’t think of a better film or filmmaker to launch with.” The company name and details of the new venture will be revealed at a later date.
“Where to Invade Next” was expected to be one of the hot projects of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, but a sale took longer than anticipated, closing two weeks after the gathering had finished.
Even before it was shown, the picture was drawing interest from buyers. However, rumors started to swirl that Netflix was interested in buying worldwide rights to the project, potentially dissuading some bidders from ever getting involved in negotiations. Netflix never placed a bid for the movie.
Moore’s insistence on a theatrical roll out also may have prevented some distributors from seriously entering the fray. At one point, the film’s sales agent, WME, examined the possibility of pairing a premium cable network like HBO with a theatrical distributor, sources say.
“Where to Invade Next” was a question mark going into the festival. Moore and his team did not pre-screen the picture before it debuted, and the secrecy only heightened the interest. Moore enjoys nearly an unrivaled stature among non-fiction filmmakers. He is an Oscar-winner for “Bowling for Columbine” and his Bush administration takedown “Fahrenheit 9/11” remains the highest-grossing documentary in history, having earned $119.2 million.
The purchase is certainly a coup for Quinn and Janego, who left the Weinstein Company-backed Radius last August. Documentaries have been the pair’s strong suit both at Radius and during a stint at Magnolia. They scored Oscars for “20 Feet From Stardom” and the Edward Snowden documentary “Citizenfour,” and also worked on such acclaimed non-fiction films as “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” and “Man on Wire.”
In a statement, Moore hailed Quinn, Janego, and Alamo’s League as a “dream team.”
“It is clear to me that they want to forge something new for a new century,” he said. “They decided it was time to rethink the way movies are made, doing it with filmmakers who create their best work in a supportive environment, unfettered by a traditional studio system.”
The deal is for North American rights, so Moore can still try to find foreign distributors for other territories.
“Where to Invade Next” covers a range of topics from the benefits of female leadership to prison reform, and seems ideally timed to next year’s 2016 presidential election. The picture compares European countries’ approaches to healthcare, gun control, and education with the way the United States chooses to deal with these issues. Many studio executives said it was more uplifting than previous Moore films like “Sicko” or “Capitalism: A Love Story,” saying it was his most crowd-pleasing film since 1989’s “Roger & Me.”
The film’s American premiere is Friday evening at the New York Film Festival presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Moore produced the film with documentarians Carl Deal and Tia Lessin.
Michael Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next’ Loses R Rating Appeal
The MPAA has upheld the “R” rating given to Michael Moore’s new documentary “Where to Invade Next.”
The association said that its appeals board retained the “R” rating given for language, some violent images, drug use and brief graphic nudity.
Moore had appealed the “R” rating, and argued that nothing in the picture is any more provocative or disturbing than the content of an evening news broadcast.
“I will make no cuts,” he told Variety shortly after making the appeal. “We don’t believe in censorship in this country. There can’t be any compromise on this sort of thing.”
“The MPAA doesn’t want teenagers to see these things without parental supervision,” Moore said. “My advice to the teenagers of America is you know what to do and you know how to get in.”
“Where to Invade Next” finds Moore comparing how foreign countries like Finland and France grapple with social and economic issues to the approach in the U.S. A Dec. 23 release is planned to qualify the film for awards, and it recently made the short list of 15 movies that will be pared to nominees for best documentary Oscars.
Michael Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next’ Release Pushed Back to February
The national release of Michael Moore’s documentary “Where to Invade Next” has been pushed back a month to Feb. 12 from Jan. 15.
The start date for “Where to Invade Next,” which will open on about 300 screens, was moved so that Moore could stage a six-week bus tour to promote the film, starting Jan. 4. As part of the tour, Moore is planning to stage a premiere in every state.
The documentary will still keep its Oscar-qualifying run for a week in locations New York and Los Angeles starting on Dec. 23. The film has been shortlisted by the Academy’s documentary branch as one of 15 finalists for the five nominations that will be announced on Jan. 14.
“Where to Invade Next” covers a range of topics, from the benefits of female leadership to prison reform, and is timed to coincide with next year’s presidential election. The film’s opening date of Feb. 12 is three days after the nation’s first primary in New Hampshire.
The doc compares European countries’ approaches to healthcare, gun control and education with the way the U.S. tackles those issues. The film debuted in September at the Toronto Film Festival, had its American premiere at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 2 and won the audience award at the Hamptons International Film Festival.
“Where to Invade Next” is being released via an untitled new company formed in late September by former Radius founders and co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego, who are teaming with Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League.
The first full trailer for the movie was released on Dec. 7.
Moore produced the film with documentarians Carl Deal and Tia Lessin. He won an Oscar for 2002’s “Bowling for Columbine” and his Bush administration takedown “Fahrenheit 9/11” remains the highest-grossing documentary in history, having hauled in $119.2 million.
The news about the release date was first reported by Deadline.
‘Where To Invade Next’ Release Pushed; Michael Moore To Embark On 50-State Bus Tour Timed To New Hampshire Primary
Michael Moore’s latest film Where To Invade Next, which was to have begun its national rollout in two weeks on December 23, will now open in a few hundred theaters beginning February 12 — three days after the New Hampshire primary. The documentary, Moore’s first in six years, will be distributed by the still-untitled new company of former Radius chiefs Tom Quinn and Jason Janego along with Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League. It now will be released for one week only in a Los Angeles and New York theater in order to qualify for the Oscars, and then re-open on Feburary 12, a date which also happens to be Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
It has already been shortlisted by the Academy’s documentary branch as one of 15 finalists for the five Documentary Feature Oscar slots that will announced January 14, and it must meet the Academy’s qualifying rules. Thus the one-week limited run this month that Moore describes as a series of sneak previews.
The new release is partly timed to take advantage of the Oscar race and give the film a stronger footing,Michael Moore told me this morning discussing his big plans for the launch of the movie with “a 50-state strategy.” The idea is for Moore to embark on a massive rock ‘n roll-style tour of every state (even Alaska and Hawaii, which they are still figuring out) in a big specially designed Where To Invade Next bus. The tour will run for six weeks beginning January 4 and up to the film’s opening with a “premiere” in every state. Moore came up with the plan and pitched it to his distributors, who immediately warmed to it and changed their previous release plans.
Moore said he got the idea after seeing test scores from various areas like Pittsburgh, Yonkers and other locations that came in with recommends in the 90s — higher than any of his previous films or even those of Quinn and Janego, who most recently ran Radius, a specialty division of The Weinstein Company.
“What it has shown us is the film not only plays well as just a movie, but the issues raised in the film deeply affect people,” Moore said. “So I said to Tom and Jason before we go wide why not give me a month or so to barnstorm the country, me personally, in a big rock ‘n roll tour bus, and we will crisscross the country showing the film for free, leading up to the New Hampshire primary because the issues in the film are the issues, the real issues, people want being discussed in this election year,” he said, adding they may also have music and rallies along the way.
Moore said he specifically wanted to open the film the week of the New Hampshire primary, and thus this unique marketing blitz was hatched. He says the plan is to start in about 300-400 screens and get it up to 750 within two weeks, or possibly even a 1000, which puts it in the range of previous Moore films like Fahrenheit 911, the most successful documentary ever, as well as his Oscar-winning Bowling For Columbine. The new plan could also be effective in terms of an inadvertent Oscar campaign as the tour launches during voting for nominations, and the film will now open just as final ballots go out.
Moore, however, says his chief goal is to put the issues raised in the film — which he calls non-partisan — on the national agenda and make it part of the election discussion. “It’s not about supporting any one candidate — I haven’t endorsed anybody,” he said. “What we have found is people leave the movie with a lot of hope, that we can turn things around. We have found there is a sense of optimism but also audiences have a building anger during the film, because as you’re watching me invade these countries and you see they have these things we should have you are going ‘wait a minute. I live in the USA,’ ” he added of the movie he shot around Europe in complete secrecy.
During the first Toronto screening, which drew every distributor in town and was eventually picked up by Quinn and Janego’s new company, it was described as “Mike’s happy film.” That’s largely because it is probably his most optimistic as he “invades” various countries like France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and others to “steal good ideas and spirit them back to the USA.” The film deals with universal health care, employee benefits, free college education and many more issues Moore points out are popular around the world but unheard of in the U.S. even though they may have had their beginnings in America at one time.
Moving the film out of the harms way of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens next Friday, is probably not a bad idea in terms of maximizing box office potential. “The week after December 18th is more about putting flowers on various graves,” he laughed, while admitting he already has his own tickets for the 9 AM Star Wars show on the 19th in New York. “I think people knew Star Wars was going to be huge, but it does give us the added advantage of avoiding the tsunami and having our film be out there on its own terms and build its own national audience of millions. So that’s what I will do on the road for those six weeks and when it opens hopefully lots of people will come see it,” he said.
Michael Moore Mystery: Who's Paying to Release His New Film?
An elusive distributor and scuttled marketing for 'Where to Invade Next' raise questions as the movie limps into 300 theaters Feb. 12.
This story first appeared in the Feb. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
In September, Michael Moore announced he had sold his anticipated documentary Where to Invade Next to a new, unnamed company headed by ex-Radius executives Tom Quinn and Jason Janego and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League. But as Invade limps into 300 theaters Feb. 12, questions surround the film and the mysterious outfit releasing it.
Invade, in which Moore visits countries that offer a better version of the American dream, was set to roll out nationally Dec. 23, then pushed to Jan. 15 and eventually Feb. 12. In December, Moore, 61, said he would embark on a 50-state bus tour to promote the film, but that never happened. (An empty bus with Invade signage instead is making the rounds.) Insiders blame the delays on not wanting the political satire to open against Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And they attribute the scuttled tour to Moore turning his focus to the water crisis in his hometown of Flint, Mich. Plus, the director canceled appearances on Conan and Real Time With Bill Maher because he's battling pneumonia. "You can't burn it at both ends, and if u do, it's best not to do so in the winter nor anywhere near a place full of toxic water!" he wrote on his Facebook page.
Still, many are skeptical of the company that landed Moore's first movie in six years. Quinn, Janego and League have yet to name their label or financial backers, and a company title card will not appear before the film, stoking speculation that the trio didn't actually buy Invade out of Toronto and instead are being paid a service fee to release the film, which was financed by WME-IMG. Quinn and Janego insist League put up funds to buy the film for an undisclosed sum and pay for its prints-and-advertising budget (two sources familiar with the deal say a third party paid for P&A). Either way, the distributor is trying to make the most of the timing of the release amid the U.S. presidential campaign, with TV spots airing during debates. Says Janego, "This is the single most relevant film right now, and it will be the most relevant film all year."
Anchor Bay Buys Home Video Rights to Michael Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next’
Anchor Bay Entertainment has acquired the U.S. home entertainment distribution rights to Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next” from Moore.
Anchor Bay, the home entertainment division of Starz, will distribute “Where to Invade Next” on Blu-ray/DVD, VOD and digital HD. It has not set a date for release.
The film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, was released on Dec. 23 for an Oscar-qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles by the still-unnamed distribution label formed by Radius-TWC co-founders Tom Quinn and Jason Janego and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema founder Tim League. It was one of the 15 documentaries short-listed for an Oscar but did not receive a nomination.
“Where to Invade Next” then reopened on Feb. 12 at 308 U.S. locations and has grossed $2.6 million so far.
In the film, Moore journeyed to several European countries including Portugal, Finland, Italy and France to explore their methods of dealing with social and economic ills. His promotion of the film has been reduced as the result of pneumonia and he was forced to scrub his planned trip to the Berlin Film Festival for its European premiere last month.
“Where to Invade Next” opened in Germany on Feb. 25.
It’s Moore’s first film since 2009’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.”