Lassie comes home to the big (and little) screen! Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films will release the new critically acclaimed feature film, Lassie in theaters on September 1. The Weinstein Company and Genius Products acquired the rights at this year's Tribeca Film Festival to distribute Lassie on DVD and television. The joint announcement was made today by Classic Media's CEO, Eric Ellenbogen, Howard Cohen, Co-President, Roadside Attractions and Meyer Gottlieb, President, Samuel Goldwyn Films along with The Weinstein Company co-chairman, Harvey Weinstein, and Genius Products president and CEO, Trevor Drinkwater.
Written and directed by BAFTA Award-winner, Charles Sturridge (Fairytale, Longitude, Shackelton), Lassie has been heralded as "a new classic" by the BBC. Legendary actor Peter O'Toole, a seven-time Academy Award nominee, and recipient of the 2003 Honorary Oscar, stars as the Duke of Rudling. Academy Award nominee Samantha Morton (Sweet and Lowdown, Minority Report) stars as Sarah Carraclough and independent film favorite Peter Dinklage (Elf, The Station Agent) stars as Rowlie. Additional cast members include, Steve Pemberton, John Lynch, Jemma Redgrave and Jonathon Mason as Lassie's young owner, Joe Carraclough.
"This is a beautiful and moving new version of the classic tale that emphasizes virtues like loyalty, honesty and respect for animals," said Roadside Attractions' Howard Cohen. "It's the kind of film that parents and children can be excited about seeing together."
Drinkwater stated, "I have always been a big fan of Classic Media, whose rich portfolio of timeless brands continues to entertain children and families from generation to generation. We are proud to be distributing this classic rendition of Lassie, one of Classic Media's most revered properties."
Glen Basner stated, "We are so excited to have bought another gem at the Tribeca Film Festival and to be in business with Classic Media."
Eric Ellenbogen, added, "Lassie is one of entertainment's most enduring and successful properties. Classic Media is thrilled to have such outstanding partners to distribute her eleventh feature film."
Based on Eric Knight's best-selling book, "Lassie Come-Home," the film is set on the eve of WWII in a Yorkshire mining town. The Carraclough family is forced to sell Lassie to the Duke of Rudling when the family falls on hard times. When Lassie finds herself transported five hundred miles away to live in the Duke's remote castle in northern Scotland, she is determined to defy the odds and return to her home and the boy she loves. So begins an incredible adventure, set against a stunning series of British landscapes that sees Lassie facing dangers natural and human and finding help in unexpected places as she makes her way across the country, to reach home in time for Christmas.
Cohen negotiated the theatrical deal on behalf of Roadside and Goldwyn. Drinkwater negotiated the deal on behalf of Genius, and Glen Basner, president, international for The Weinstein Company, and Genna Terranova, acquisitions executive, negotiated the deal on behalf of TWC.