Roadside Attractions and FilmNation Entertainment have acquired North American rights to Miguel Arteta’s Beatriz At Dinner. Mike White wrote it and Salma Hayek stars with John Lithgow. An immigrant from a poor town in Mexico, she has drawn on her innate kindness to build a career as a health practitioner. Doug Strutt is a cutthroat, self-satisfied billionaire. When these two opposites meet at a dinner party, their worlds collide and neither will be the same. Roadside Attractions and FilmNation also acquired distribution rights for the film in Australia and New Zealand. WME/CAA/UTA negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers.

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There were close to a thousand limited-release titles that opened in 2016 in North America. Assessing the specialty box office is not as tidy as with the studios. The area requires some subjectivity given when factoring in cast, release strategy and any other number of factors. From well north of 100 distributors, specialties — for the purpose of this article, titles that opened in limited release and spent most of their theatrical rollouts outside of wide release — grossed less than $550M in 2016, according to figures provided by comScore, which provided numbers for all titles assessed in this article.

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Manchester By the Sea is making a splash in the awards race. Kenneth Lonergan's critical darling steamed ahead Wednesday, leading the Screen Actors Guild Awards with four nominations, including outstanding performance by a movie cast, actor (Casey Affleck), supporting actor (Lucas Hedges) and supporting actress (Michelle Williams). The devastating family drama — which also earned four Golden Globe nominations Monday — follows an anguished handyman (Affleck) who returns home to take care of his nephew (Hedges) after his brother (Kyle Chandler) dies.

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The movie, directed by London stage veteran William Oldroyd, isn’t based on the famous Shakespeare character but is an adaptation of Russian writer Nikolai Leskov’s 1865 novella “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk.” Florence Pugh (“The Falling”) plays the title character: a 19th century young bride sold into marriage to a middle-aged man.

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George Mendeluk directed the feature, which stars Max Irons and Samantha Barks. The Stalin-era romance Bitter Harvest has been nabbed by Roadside Attractions for the U.S. George Mendeluk directed the feature, which stars Max Irons and Samantha Barks as young lovers in the 1930s during the Holodomor, Joseph Stalin's intentional starvation of the Ukrainian population. Mendeluk co-wrote the screenplay with Richard Bachynsky-Hoover.

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Miramax will partner with Roadside Attractions for the domestic theatrical release of the the doc from director Kevin Macdonald. Miramax has acquired U.S. rights to Kevin Macdonald's forthcoming documentary Whitney, which centers on the life and career of Whitney Houston. Miramax, which also acquired distribution rights for Latin America and China, will partner with Roadside Attractions for the domestic theatrical release of the doc. WME Global negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

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Amazon has tapped Roadside Attractions to handle the theatrical distribution of “Manchester by the Sea,” sources tell Variety. The partners will debut the film on Nov. 18, in the heart of awards season. A platform release is planned, with the film gradually adding theaters and markets. “Manchester by the Sea” should expand nationwide at some point in mid-December.

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The trailer for "Southside With You", the upcoming historical romcom (romcom? bioromcom?) about Barack and Michelle Obama’s “epic first date across Chicago’s south side,” was released today, and it looks incredibly charming. Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyer star as the First Couple when they were just a Potential Couple—they see Do the Right Thing, they talk about how they fit into the world, and (most importantly) they have their first kiss after sharing an ice cream cone.

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Sometime in the 1790s, Jane Austen wrote a wickedly funny epistolary novella about a widow named Lady Susan, whose beauty and charm are matched only by her cunning ability to manipulate the doting men around her. Austen never tried to publish it. The novella, “Lady Susan,” was finally released more than 50 years after her death, but the story never really caught on with devotees of her other, more famous works.

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In the summer of 1989, the 28-year-old legal intern Barack Obama had the audacity to hope that his senior colleague Michelle Robinson would say “Yes we can” to a first date. Though the future first lady would later debate the technical precision of the word “date,” she did elect to meet this bold young man on a Saturday afternoon. That meeting turned into an all-day ramble through Chicago, from the Art Institute to a screening of “Do the Right Thing,” and now it has been turned into an improbably moving movie.

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Max Perkins was surrounded by literary geniuses, but he had something to do with that. Perkins was a revered senior editor at Scribner’s Sons in the late 1920s, with a stable of writers named Hemingway and Fitzgerald. A sprawling, unwieldy, 1,000-page manuscript from an unknown writer lands on his desk after it’s been rejected all around town. But Perkins sees something special beneath the weight of excessive prose and seeks out the author. His name is Thomas Wolfe and the book will become Look Homeward Angel.

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EXCLUSIVE: "Southside With You", the film that chronicles the first date between future U.S. President Barack Obama and future First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, is near closing with Miramax in a North American rights deal around $2 million. They are finishing the deal in Berlin tonight, sources tell me, and they’ll release in partnership with Roadside Attractions.

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For the second year in a row, the Film Independent Indie Spirit Award nominations were leaked in advance of their announcement. Last year, it was because PR Newswire broke the embargo. This year Film Independent is blaming a technical glitch. Film Independent promised that the same mistake would not happen this year. The nominees were scheduled to be announced at 10AM PST.

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