MACHINE GUN PREACHER nabbed by Relativity, set for September release

Julian Stark

by: Julian Stark
July 7th, 2011

MACHINE GUN PREACHER will hit theaters in the fall

Gerard Butler leads MACHINE GUN PREACHER, playing a reformed drug dealer who works to save refugee children in East Africa. It doesn’t really sound like awards bait, but director Marc Forster certainly disagrees.

He personally asked Lionsgate to give the film’s distribution rights over to Relativity for an awards campaign, mainly for Butler’s leading performance. GATW’s own Joshua Brunsting earlier reported on it, and now the deal has been officially confirmed.

MACHINE GUN PREACHER will have a limited release in New York and Los Angeles on September 23, with a wide release to follow. Despite a few awful film choices, Butler has proven his acting chops before, so I’ll refrain from dismissing his chances entirely.

It remains to be seen whether or not MACHINE GUN PREACHER becomes an awards hit, but it’ll certainly one of the more intriguing films to follow throughout the season. You can check out the press release below, courtesy of Deadline Hollywood.

Beverly Hills, CA (July 7, 2011) – Relativity Media announced today that it has acquired North American rights from Lionsgate to theatrically market and distribute Machine Gun Preacher. Directed and produced by DGA and Golden Globe®-nominee Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball) and written by Jason Keller (Relativity’s Untitled Snow White Project), the film stars Gerard Butler (300) in a tour de force performance and will release in Los Angeles and New York on September 23, 2011. The film will expand markets in the weeks to follow. Lionsgate will continue to oversee international distribution on the film, working in partnership with Relativity.

The film also showcases powerful performances by an ensemble cast, including Michelle Monaghan (Due Date), Kathy Baker (Cold Mountain), Oscar®-nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road), Madeline Carroll (The Spy Next Door) and breakout actor Souleymane Sy Savane (Goodbye Solo). Machine Gun Preacher is based on the true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who finds faith leading him on a path to East Africa. Shocked by the mayhem in Sudan, Childers becomes a crusader for hundreds of refugee children. Inspired to create a safe haven for the multitudes fleeing enslavement by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army, he restores peace to their lives and eventually his own. Producing are Relativity’s Robbie Brenner, Safady Entertainment’s Gary Safady and Craig Chapman, and GG Filmz’s Deborah Giarratana.

‘This is a powerful story, and we feel strongly that it is one audiences need to see. Forster once again proves that he is among the best directors of our time and Butler delivers a career-defining performance bolstered by a rock solid supporting cast,’ says Relativity’s President of Worldwide Production, Tucker Tooley.

‘We have a longstanding relationship with Marc, and given that together we felt it was best for the film to be released domestically this year, we are very happy that Relativity is able to handle it,’ says Mike Paseornek, Lionsgate’s President of Motion Picture Production and Development.”

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