February 2, 2009

Oprah, Tyler Perry, Lionsgate Behind Push Distribution



OPRAH WINFREY AND TYLER PERRY ALIGN WITH LIONSGATE® IN AN UNPRECEDENTED PARTNERSHIP  

Studio Acquires North American Distribution Rights From Smokewood Entertainment Group And Reunites With Academy Award® Winning Monster's Ball Producer Daniels  

LIONSGATE®, a leading next generation studio, announced today that it has acquired North American distribution rights to 2009 Sundance Film Festival sensation PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE. Directed by Lee Daniels (SHADOWBOXER), PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, only the third film in Festival history to do so. Star Mo'Nique was honored with a Special Jury Prize for acting. PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE was produced by Daniels, and Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness under their Smokewood Entertainment Group (S.E.G.) banner; Lisa Cortes and Tom Heller were executive producers. The screenplay was written by Damien Paul, based on Sapphire's 1996 book. PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE stars newcomer Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe, Paula Patton (DEJA VU), Mo'Nique (SHADOWBOXER), Grammy® Award-winning artist Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd ("30 Rock") and Grammy® Award-winning artist Lenny Kravitz. The deal marks the second collaboration between Lionsgate and Daniels, who produced the studio's Academy Award®-winning MONSTER'S BALL. The announcement was made by Jason Constantine, Lionsgate President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions.  

In an unprecedented partnership, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry will support Lionsgate's distribution of PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE, through their respective motion picture companies, Harpo Films and 34th Street Films. It will be the first film affiliated with Perry's 34th Street banner.  

"PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE is an extraordinary film about taking hold of life; to watch it is to be galvanized and uplifted," said Constantine. "MONSTER'S BALL introduced Lee as a gifted producer; we believe PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE firmly establishes him as one of America's finest directors."  

Said Daniels, "I know from my MONSTER'S BALL experience that PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE has found the best home possible. I'm really looking forward to working again with smart, innovative friends at Lionsgate."  

Commented Winfrey, "I've never seen anything like it. The moment I saw PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE, I knew I wanted to do whatever I could to encourage other people to see this movie. The film is so raw and powerful - it split me open."  

Added Perry, "I am honored to join Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate in releasing Lee Daniels' exceptional film. I was immensely moved by PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE, and wanted to do whatever I could to help others share in its redemptive experience. Lionsgate is the ideal studio to shepherd this artistically courageous film to market."  

"We like to work with filmmakers who harness instinct and vision to compelling projects, creating motion pictures that resonate emotionally with an audience. That is why we chose PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE," said Sarah Siegel-Magness, managing partner of S.E.G.

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