Film distributor FilmRise announced today that it has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Michael Almereyda's critically acclaimed "Marjorie Prime," starring Jon Hamm, Tim Robbins, Geena Davis, and Lois Smith. Based on Jordan Harrison's Pulitzer-nominated play of the same name, the film premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize. The screenplay for "Marjorie Prime" was adapted by Almeryeda and the film was produced by Passage Pictures' Uri Singer.
"Marjorie Prime" is a humanistic sci-fi story set in the near future, focusing on eighty-six-year-old Marjorie (Lois Smith), who spends time with the young likeness of her deceased husband Walter (Jon Hamm). This revitalized Walter is a sophisticated holographic projection that provides companionship while stimulating Marjorie's memory—allowing her to explore their shared past as she lives with dementia. Marjorie's daughter Tess (Geena Davis) and her husband Jon (Tim Robbins) develop their own complex feelings about the new Walter, uneasily coming to terms with the nature of identity, memory, and our ever-shifting relationship to technology.
FilmRise will release "Marjorie Prime" theatrically in mid-2017. The company is also planning a fall awards push centered around Lois Smith, in addition to co-stars Davis, Hamm, and Robbins. Lois Smith, a legendary stage and screen actress whose credits date as far back as "East of Eden" (1955), earned rave reviews for her performance in "Marjorie Prime" out of Sundance. The 86-year-old actress has never been nominated for an Oscar in an illustrious career spanning seven decades.
"Marjorie Prime" will also be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video later this year. The distributor opted-in to Amazon Video Direct's Film Festival Stars program, which is designed to establish an attractive distribution model for films screened at film festivals, beginning with Sundance.
"Marjorie Prime" was the recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan award at Sundance, which goes to a feature film that focuses on science or technology as a theme. In his praise of the film, Doron Weber of the Sloan Foundation wrote: "With cool intelligence, wit and poignancy—allied to a deft directorial hand and a stellar cast—Almereyda explores the emotional landscape of artificial intelligence and dramatizes the emerging impact of intelligent machines on our most intimate human relationships."
"We are thrilled to announce our acquisition of this superb Sundance award-winner," said Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise. "Michael Almereyda has created a subtle and masterly adaptation, and the performances by Jon Hamm, Lois Smith, Geena Davis, and Tim Robbins are extraordinary."
Commented Michael Almereyda: "I'm pleased that the wave of good feeling generated by our Sundance screenings has been caught by FilmRise, and I look forward to working with them on Marjorie's American release."
"I'm very enthusiastic to be working with FilmRise on the American release of 'Marjorie Prime,'" said the film's producer Uri Singer. "After a successful premiere at Sundance, I'm excited that the film is in good hands and will reach a wide audience."
The deal for the film was negotiated between Fisher and FilmRise's VP of Acquisitions Max Einhorn with Linzee Troubh of Cinetic Media.