Magnolia Pictures to Distribute Mega-Documentary FREAKONOMICS

     April 5, 2010


We have just received a press release from Magnolia Pictures saying that the studio will release the documentary adaptation of Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s best-selling book FreakonomicsAs we previously reported, the film is a type of uber-documentary with noted documentary filmmakers such as Alex Gibney, Morgan Spurlock, Eugene Jarecki, and Seth Gordon, doing individual segments on various case studies in human behavior and sociological results.

Hit the jump to read the full press release.  The film is set to close out this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from April 21st to May 2nd.

freakonomics_book_cover_001.jpgHere’s the full press release from Magnolia:

Magnolia Pictures Acquires North American Rights to Film Version of Smash Bestselling Book FREAKONOMICS

New York – April 5, 2010 – The Wagner/Cuban Companies’ Magnolia Pictures announced today that it has acquired all North American rights to FREAKONOMICS, the highly anticipated film version of the phenomenally bestselling book about incentives-based thinking by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Like the book, the film examines human behavior with provocative and sometimes hilarious case studies, bringing together a dream team of filmmakers responsible for some of the most acclaimed and entertaining documentaries in recent years: Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Casino Jack and the United States of Money), Academy Award® nominees Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp), Academy Award® nominee Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight) and Seth Gordon (The King of Kong).

Produced by Chad Troutwine, with Chris Romano and Dan O’Meara of the Green Film Company, FREAKONOMICS is the Closing Night Gala film selection at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Alex Gibney takes a visually arresting look at the crumbling façade of Sumo wrestling and exposes searing and violent truths about this ancient and revered sport. Morgan Spurlock offers up a buoyant and revealing angle on the repercussions of baby names. Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing balance levity and candor with an eye-opening profile of underachieving kids incentivized to learn with cold hard cash. Finally, Eugene Jarecki investigates an unsettling theory to explain why crime rates dramatically dropped in the early ’90s. Seth Gordon weaves the pieces together with brisk interludes, providing context and commentary from the authors.

Magnolia anticipates a particularly wide audience for this documentary, as it is difficult to overstate the impact of the source material. Upon its release, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything spent multiple years on the New York Times bestsellers list, and became one of the most blogged about books in the world, inspiring a continuing discussion that has spawned a bestselling sequel (SuperFreakonomics), as well as a regular blog on the Times’ website.

“As huge fans of the book, the film version of FREAKONOMICS is something that we’ve been excited about ever since we caught wind of it,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “The fact that this dream project is being realized by the ‘dream team’ of documentary filmmakers makes this a major film event. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”

“Dan O’Meara, Chris Romano and I have long admired Magnolia’s maverick approach to the business and their pioneering success with new distribution models. FREAKONOMICS has been an audacious project from its inception, and we could not ask for a more intrepid partner to handle the release of our film than Magnolia Pictures,” said producer Chad Troutwine of Green Film Company.

Magnolia is planning a fall theatrical release for the film.  The deal was negotiated by Magnolia SVP Tom Quinn with Troutwine, Romano and O’Meara.

About Magnolia Pictures:

Magnolia Pictures ( is the theatrical and home entertainment distribution arm of the Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically-integrated group of media properties co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban that also includes the Landmark Theatres chain, the production company 2929 Productions, and the high definition cable network HDNet. Magnolia’s recent releases include such critically acclaimed films as the Oscar nominated documentary Food, Inc, Oscar winner Man on Wire, James Gray’s Two Lovers, Stephen Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Expereince, Bong Joon-Ho’s Mother, and Conor McPherson’s The Eclipse. Upcoming releases include Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, Bob Pulcini and Shari Berman’s The Extra Man, Oscar-winner Alex Gibney’sCasino Jack and the United States of Money, Neil Jordan’s Ondine, Dagur Kari’s The Good Heart, the hard hitting nuclear weapons documentary Countdown to Zero, and many more.

About Green Film Company:

Green Film Company is a New York-based producer of film and television. Chris Romano and Dan O’Meara formed the company in early 2007, combining their years of experience in independent film production, financing, and sales. In 2008, Chad Troutwine joined the company as a partner bringing to the team a wealth of experience in film production, finance, and business development. The company’s first project By The People: The Election of Barack Obama was co-produced with Edward Norton’s Class 5 Films, and picked up by HBO Documentary Films, BBC and Sony Pictures Worldwide. The company’s current projects Freakonomics and Gerrymandering will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival followed by their theatrical release during 2010. GFC is backed by private equity financing and is developing film and television projects, both narrative and non-fiction, with some of most respected writers and filmmakers in the business.

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