Alchemy Acquires Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire with Brie Larson, Armie Hammer & More

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Alchemy-acquires-Ben-Wheatleys-Free-FireBen Wheatley’s anticipated next feature Free Fire is in the process of locking down distribution after going on the market at AFM this month.

Deadline reports that Alchemy is in the process of closing their deal to take US rights to distribute Free Fire. And they put the deal at north of $3m, which is a strong commitment from them.

Free Fire is expected to be Ben Wheatley’s most commercial offering yet, with an all-star cast and a stellar story.

Set in late 1970s Boston, Brie Larson stars as a woman who has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse with two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley) and a gang (led by Armie Hammer and Sharlto Copley) looking to sell them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart-stopping game of survival ensues.

Jack Reynor, Sam Riley, Noah Taylor, Enzo Cilenti, and Babou Ceesay complete the great line-up.

Wheatley is directing from a script he co-wrote with his wife and frequent collaborator Amy Jump (High-Rise, Sightseers). Andrew Starke (Kill List) produces, with Martin Scorsese serving as executive producer. Film4 and BFI co-financed.

A24 and The Weinstein Company were both reportedly in the mix among US distributors. So for Alchemy to come out victorious is a good indication that they’re eager to up their game. Since rebranding itself under the new name Alchemy at the start of this year, the distributor has handled the period drama Madame Bovary, starring Mia Wasikowska, and the dark comedy Welcome to Me, starring Kristen Wiig. They’ve recently had quite a bit of luck with Meet the Patels, which is still averaging decent numbers in its ninth week at the limited box office. And they’ve just started releasing Gaspar Noé’s 3D erotic drama, Love. Their upcoming slate includes James Franco’s Zeroville and the awards-buzzed The Lobster, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz.

Adding Free Fire to their slate definitely cements their intentions to raise their profile in 2016. It’s a bit of a surprise, because I thought for sure someone like A24 would land this one. Alchemy’s done well this year, but A24 seemed like a better fit. But if Alchemy’s putting up the money, presumably they’ve got a good plan for how to handle it next year.

No word yet on a release date for Free Fire. But StudioCanal already has the rights for our shores, so a theatrical release on both sides of the Atlantic is now officially confirmed.

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