Sundance 2018: MoviePass and The Orchard Partner in Acquisition of Festival Standout ‘American Animals’


MoviePass Ventures is getting into the distribution game in a partnership with The Orchard. Together, the two have secured the rights for “American Animals.”

The film premiered over the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, quickly emerging as a festival favorite. It is the true story of four young men who attempt one of the most daring art heists in US history—from their own university.

“American Animals” stars several up-and-coming young actors. Evan Peters, has starred in several seasons of “American Horror Story.”

Barry Keoghan appeared in 2017 in both “Dunkirk” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.”

Blake Jenner (“The Edge of Seventeen”), and Jared Abrahamson (“Sweet Virginia”) are also rising stars to watch.

Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and Udo Kier (“Downsizing”) also appear.

Writer/director Bart Layton said of the deal:

I made this film to be watched in theatres and the fact that this incredibly impressive partnership and this innovative deal put so much emphasis on that is hugely exciting. Plus, I’ve always loved Orchards.

Paul Davidson, The Orchard’s Executive Vice President of Film & TV, said:

Bart Layton’s ‘American Animals’ is a bold, exciting and fresh take on the heist movie that had us from the start. By joining forces with MoviePass, a bold and forward thinking company unto themselves, we’ll reach audiences in new and exciting ways and give ‘American Animals’ the release it deserves.

And Mitch Lowe, CEO of MoviePass also said:

We’re proud to partner with The Orchard, a distributor we respect a great deal, on our first co-acquisition deal. We’re open for business and look forward to supporting our other distributor partners in acquiring great content, utilizing efficient P&A spends, and ensuring strong performance in the theatrical window and participating in downstream revenues as a result of strong box office performance.

Khalid Itum, VP of Business Development at MoviePass added:

When we saw this film at Sundance and met the incredible filmmakers, we knew it would make for a strong partnership – and just had to get involved.

 The details were not part of the announcement, but the deal was said to be “significant.”

This represents a new direction for MoviePass Ventures. But it is another in a string of popular acquisitions for The Orchard. They also distributed films like “The Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” “Neruda,” “Cartel Land,” and “Life, Animated.”

There is no word yet on a release date, but it is expected to hit theaters sometime this year.

Are you excited to see “American Animals” when it reaches a theater near you? Comment below and share your thoughts.