AMC Networks has acquired all U.S. distribution rights to “On the Road,” Walter Salles’ adaptation of the Beat Generation tome by Jack Kerouac
It will be released jointly by the company’s film distribution labels IFC Films and Sundance Selects sometime this fall.
Sundance Selects/IFC Films plans a traditional theatrical roll-out, and will handle all downstream platforms. Starring Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley and Kirsten Dunst, “On the Road” will world premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, which starts next week.
The deal represents the largest acquisition yet for Sundance/IFC. Parent company AMC Networks plans to use all its platforms–AMC, We TV and Sundance Channel–to promote the picture.
Based on a screenplay by Jose Rivera, the MK2 Production was produced by Nathanael Karmitz, Charles Gillibert, Rebecca Yeldham and Roman Coppola for American Zoetrope. Executive producer is Francis Ford Coppola, who bought rights to “On the Road” in 1980.
A buyers’ screening in late February failed to attract a high-profile distributor, which may have had as much to do with the asking price (rumored to be high seven figures) as Salles’ approach to the book.
Multiple people who have seen the film agreed that it contains noteworthy performances and cinematography, but add that its two-hours-plus length and nebulous narrative make it a challenge to market to mainstream audiences.
But Kerouac fans will be eager to check out the “On the Road’s” first-ever big-screen adaptation. And “Twilight” devotees have been constantly buzzing about Kristen Stewart’s role as Mary Lou
The $25 million picture was shot in late 2010 in New Orleans, Montreal, Mexico and Argentina.
MK2, which is handling foreign sales, has already sold “On the Road” in several offshore territories, with more deals expected after the screenings in Cannes.