The Wagner/Cuban Company's Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired US theatrical, VOD and home entertainment rights to Whitey: United States of America V. James J. Bulger, a documentary about notorious Irish gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger and the massive law enforcement corruption surrounding his reign of terror in South Boston. Whitey, which premiered at Sundance this year, was directed and produced by Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2), and produced by RadicalMedia for CNN Films.

Magnolia will be giving the film a day and date theatrical and on demand release this June, followed by a broadcast on CNN later this year. Magnolia and CNN also partnered on Blackfish and Life Itself, the upcoming Roger Ebert documentary also being released this summer.

Infamous gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger wielded a mystique as the Robin Hood of South Boston, his legend captured the imagination of the entire country even as he terrorized a city with mayhem and brutal violence with apparent impunity. Separating the man from the myth, this riveting documentary challenges conventional wisdom by detailing shocking new allegations about law enforcement complicity that will shock even those familiar with the case.

Said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles:

"Whitey is a jaw-dropping true crime epic-a real life The Departed. As longtime admirers of Joe Berlinger's films, we're excited to be working together on this rigorous, thoroughly entertaining and tough-as-nails film."

Said filmmaker Joe Berlinger:

"The filmmaking team worked very hard to gain unprecedented access, including to James 'Whitey' Bulger himself who has never before agreed to appear in any media, so we are especially delighted to be partnering with the two companies -- Magnolia and CNN -- that know how to reach the widest possible audience."

Said Vinnie Malhotra, senior vice president for development and acquisitions for CNN Worldwide:

"Whitey is a riveting portrait of arguably the most notorious gangster in modern times -- we couldn't be more pleased to see the film reach a broader audience, and to re-team with Magnolia Pictures, as we did so successfully for Blackfish."

The deal was negotiated for Magnolia by SVP of Acquisitions Dori Begley with Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers and CNN Films.

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange