Focus Features has signed on to domestically distribute Miramax's John Madden-directed spy thriller "The Debt."
The film, which will be distributed abroad by Universal Pictures International, will debut in North America on August 31.
The film stars Sam Worthington and Helen Mirren.
Here's the full announcement from Focus:
NEW YORK, NY and SANTA MONICA, CA, February 9th, 2011 – The espionage thriller The Debt will be distributed for Miramax by Focus Features and Universal Pictures International (UPI). Focus will release The Debt in the U.S. nationwide on Wednesday, August 31st, and UPI will release the film internationally.
Directed by Academy Award nominee John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), The Debt stars Academy Award winner Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans), Jessica Chastain (soon to be seen in The Tree of Life), Marton Csokas (Universal’s upcoming Dream House), Jesper Christensen (Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace), Ciarán Hinds (Focus’ Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), and two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson. The screenplay, by Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman and Peter Straughan, is adapted from the 2007 Israeli film Ha-Hov. The producers of The Debt are Mr. Vaughn and Kris Thykier through Marv Films, Eitan Evan, and Eduardo Rossof; Tarquin Pack is the film’s executive producer.
The story begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (played by Ms. Mirren) and Stefan (Mr. Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Mr. Hinds). All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966, when the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Ms. Chastain, Mr. Csokas, and Mr. Worthington) tracked down Nazi war criminal Vogel (Mr. Christensen) in East Berlin. At great risk, and at considerable personal cost, the team’s mission was accomplished – or was it? The suspense builds in and across two different time periods, with startling action and surprising revelations.
Mike Lang, CEO of Miramax, said, “We are very pleased to announce our partnership with Focus and UPI. The Debt continues Miramax’s proud history of producing the highest-quality films, with the most respected talent and directors. We believe the film will be well-received by audiences worldwide, and it will be a powerful addition to the Miramax library.”
“Given Focus’ tradition of dramatic thrillers that unfold in exotic locations, The Debt makes for a worthy addition to our 2011 release slate,” said Focus CEO James Schamus. “The picture is taut with nail-biting tension, and spotlights powerful performances from its gifted cast. We are also excited to partner with Miramax and its new team.”
“What was a strong script has become an excellent film – and the kind of terrific thriller that works so well in the international marketplace. Everyone at UPI is proud to be distributing the picture,” said UPI president, international production and acquisitions Christian Grass.
Producer Kris Thykier commented, “We are delighted that Focus and Universal Pictures International have come on board. Their enthusiasm for the movie is palpable, their track record is second to none, and we couldn’t wish for better partners. We are especially grateful to the new Miramax for their commitment to finding the right home for the film.”