In a preemptive deal prior to the start of the Toronto International Film Festival, Lionsgate, a premier next generation global content leader, has acquired the North American distribution rights to the apocalyptic thriller Maggie, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator and The Expendables franchises, Total Recall, Batman & Robin), Academy Award-nominated Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Ender's Game) and Joely Richardson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the hit TV series The Tudors and Nip/Tuck). The announcement was made by Lionsgate Co-Chief Operating Officer and Motion Picture Group President Steve Beeks and Bill Johnson and Jim Seibel, Co-Chairs of Lotus Entertainment, who produced and handled international sales.

The Black List script by John Scott 3 is directed by Henry Hobson. Bill Johnson and Ara Keshishian produced alongside Colin Bates, Joey Tufaro, Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, Matthew Baer and Schwarzenegger. Claudia Blumhuber and Jim Seibel are executive producers. Silver Reel and Gold Star Films financed the film which Lionsgate plans to release theatrically in North America in early 2015. CAA brokered the deal.

Here's what Lionsgate's Steve Beeks had to say about acquiring Maggie in a statement.

"Maggie, has all the ingredients that spell commercial excitement - a compelling script and an "A" list superstar surrounded by a world-class cast. We're delighted to continue our relationship with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who turns in a performance that marks a dramatic departure from his action persona, and partner with our friends at Lotus Entertainment on a film that will resonate with thriller aficionados everywhere."

Producers Bill Johnson and Jim Seibel released their own joint statement.

"Lionsgate is a world-renowned brand, and we're pleased to collaborate with Steve Beeks, Rob Friedman, Patrick Wachsberger and a motion picture team that has established a superb track record with this kind of material. Maggie takes the zombie genre in exciting new directions, and it offers something for everyone - star power, horror, suspense and riveting performances that will keep moviegoers on the edge of their seats."

The film tells the story of a deadly zombie virus that has put a plague on the world. When Maggie, a vivacious young woman becomes infected, her father brings her home to let her be with their family. As Maggie's condition worsens, their relationship is tested, a father's love holding on stronger than the disease. This heart-wrenching twist on the zombie apocalypse puts a human face on an inexplicable horror.

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Schwarzenegger is repped by Patrick Knapp at Bloom Hergot and CAA.