Napoleon Dynamite: Fox Searchlight Pictures has announced a deal with MTV Films and Paramount Pictures to co-present the upcoming comedy NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, opening in select cities on June 11, platforming through the end of July. As per the agreement, Fox Searchlight will distribute the film in the U.S. and Canada and Paramount will distribute the film internationally.

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE was originally acquired by Fox Searchlight Pictures after its wildly successful bow at the Sundance Film Festival. Searchlight, aware of MTV and Paramount's passionate interest in the project, recognized that NAPOLEON's audience would only be expanded by a partnership with MTV, a preeminent brand for America's teenagers and young adults.

Fox Searchlight President Peter Rice is thrilled with the opportunity. "There's nothing conventional about NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, so an unprecedented deal with MTV Films and Paramount Pictures seems right in order," said Rice of the quirky laugher that received the coveted Best Feature Film Award at this year's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. "We feel certain that NAPOLEON DYNAMITE's originality will gain him cult status and who better to champion his unique style than MTV. We're very excited to work with Van Toffler and David Gale -- they understand the tastes and trends of young America better than anyone."

"We all absolutely fell in love with NAPOLEON DYNAMITE when we saw it at Sundance. It is exactly the type of smart, unique and offbeat work we tend to look for from up-and-coming filmmakers," says David Gale, Executive Vice President, MTV Films who along with Troy Poon, Vice President, Business Development & Acquisitions, MTV Films, was instrumental in the creation of the deal with Fox Searchlight's Rice and Vice President of Business Affairs Tom Moglovkin. "We are thrilled to be partnering with Fox Searchlight and Paramount on a project we feel passionately about."

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"This is an exciting extension of our relationship with MTV Films. NAPOLEON DYNAMITE is a wonderful film and we are excited to be associated with it," states Rob Friedman, Chief Operating Officer, Paramount Pictures and Vice Chairman, Motion Picture Group.

From Preston, Idaho comes NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (Jon Heder), a new kind of hero complete with a tight red 'fro, some choice moon boots, and skills that can't be topped. Napoleon spends his days drawing mythical beasts, duking it out with his 32-year-old brother Kip (Aaron Ruell) and avoiding his Uncle Rico (Jon Gries), a door-to-door salesman who's mentally stuck in 1982 -- the year his football team "almost won state." But when two new friends are brought into his life -- Deb (Tina Majorino), the artisan behind the "boondoggle key chain," and Pedro (Efren Ramirez) with his sweet bike and talent with the chicks -- Napoleon finds goals outside of being a star milk-tasting judge. Together the trio launches a campaign to elect Pedro for class president and make the student body's wildest dreams come true. But if Pedro is to beat stuck-up Summer (Haylie Duff), Napoleon will have to unleash his secret weapon...

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE marks the directorial debut of 24-year-old Jared Hess, who wrote the film with his wife Jerusha Hess, an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University (BYU). A favorite at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival where it premiered, the film also opened the 2004 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and went on to win that festival's coveted award for Best Feature Film.

The film was shot in Jared Hess' hometown of Preston, Idaho using an amalgamation of experienced and first-time actors. Included in the cast are: BYU students Jon Heder and Aaron Ruell in their feature film debuts, Jon Gries (JACKPOT, THE RUNDOWN), Efren Ramirez (who has appeared in series like "ER" and "Judging Amy" and in the features RACE and MISSING PIECES), Tina Majorino (WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN, WATERWORLD), Diedrich Bader (OFFICE SPACE, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES), Haylie Duff (I LOVE YOUR WORK, DREAMS IN THE ATTIC) and Shondrella Avery (of the television series "One on One" and the comedy troupe Girls Behaving Badly).

Fox Searchlight Pictures is a filmmaker-oriented company that focuses on distinctive films helmed by world-class auteurs and exciting newcomers. Some of its most recent releases include: "Bend It Like Beckham," "Thirteen," "In America," and "28 Days Later." It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.

Since MTV Films' inception in 1996, it has worked with Paramount Pictures on many successful and varied films including "Beavis and Butthead," "Kings of Comedy," "Jackass," "Election," "Better Luck Tomorrow" and "Save the Last Dance," to name a few.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.