Lionsgate Acquires Matt Johnson's OPERATION AVALANCHE
XYZ Films and Lionsgate Films have announced today that Lionsgate has acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to the new thriller OPERATION AVALANCHE from acclaimed filmmaker Matt Johnson. Johnson's first film THE DIRTIES, which he directed, co-wrote, and co-starred in, won the Grand Prize at Slamdance in 2013. The multi-hyphenate is reteaming with his DIRTIES co-writer Josh Boles, co-star Owen Williams, producer Matthew Miller, and has brought on Toronto-based producer Lee Kim (THE CONSPIRACY, I'LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN). Nick Spicer will executive produce for XYZ Films, with Michael Paseornek, John Sacchi, and Jessica Switch overseeing for Lionsgate. Production is set to begin June 30th in Toronto, Houston, and Washington D.C.
While specific details of the plot cannot yet be revealed, the film investigates the truth behind the CIA's involvement in the space race.
"The CIA, the 1960's and the space program have always been obsessions of mine. Working with partners like Lionsgate, who understand the scope and vision of what we are creating, has been a pleasure. This movie is going to leave audiences with a powerful and imaginative interpretation of what may or may not have happened within the walls of the US's top government agencies," said Johnson.
The deal for the North American rights was negotiated by Johnson's agents Mark Ankner and Rich Cook (WME) and attorney Chris Spicer (Akin Gump), alongside XYZ's Nate Bolotin.
XYZ Films sold Johnson's debut The Dirties to Phase 4 for a domestic partnership with Kevin Smith following Slamdance 2013. Johnson was recently tapped by Warner Bros. to adapt ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN. He is represented by Management 360, WME and AkinGump.
XYZ is currently handling sales for Kevin Smith's upcoming horror film ANTI-CLAUS, and Smith's highly-anticipated horror-thriller TUSK, which is currently in post-production and will be released by A24 later this year. XYZ Films produced and is handling world sales on the recently released THE RAID 2, from writer/director Gareth Huw Evans, as well as KILLERS, which is co-directed by Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel (The Mo Brothers). They are also handling international sales on the Sundance competition film LIFE AFTER BETH, starring Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Anna Kendrick, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Matthew Gray Gubler, Cheryl Hines and Paul Reiser, and the Maori actioner THE DEAD LANDS, from director Toa Fraser.