Shout! Studios Wins Distribution Rights to ‘Language Lessons’

Shout! Studios, the multi-platform distribution and production arm of Shout! Factory, April 6 announced it has acquired North American rights to the drama Language Lessons from Duplass Brothers Productions.

Starring and written by Mark Duplass and Natalie Morales, Language Lessons, a platonic love story, marks the feature directorial debut of Morales and was produced by Mel Eslyn. The film premiered at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival.

Duplass plays Adam, whose husband surprises him with a gift of a year’s worth of weekly Spanish lessons. But when tragedy strikes, his teacher, Cariño (Morales), becomes a lifeline he didn’t know he needed and the two develop an unexpected and complicated emotional bond.

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Shot in secret during the pandemic with a skeleton crew in Los Angeles and Costa Rica, Language Lessons received critical acclaim out of Berlin and SXSW.

Shout! Studios has secured all distribution rights in North America to Language Lessons, including theatrical, digital, video-on-demand, broadcast and home entertainment for cross-platform releases. Shout! Studios plans a strategic launch of this movie across all major entertainment platforms in North America, beginning with a theatrical launch later this year.

“We’ve been so humbled by the response to our little film, but it was Shout!’s unwavering passion and innovative strategy that won us over in the end,” Duplass said. “Can’t wait for this one!”

The movie deal was negotiated by Jessica Lacy at ICM Partners for Duplass Brothers Productions and Shout’s Jordan Fields, VP of acquisitions, Julie Dansker, head of new content sales, and Steven Katz, VP of business affairs, for Shout! Studios.

Language Lessons is a masterfully acted, sharply crafted, and profoundly entertaining portrait of friendship by Natalie and Mark,” Fields said. “It leaves you hopeful that real human connection can blossom in the uncongenial world of screens.”

“I am thrilled to partner once again with Mark and Mel, iconic storytellers and filmmakers, on this award-winning and very special film,” added Dansker. “The performances from Mark and Natalie are amazing and we are so excited to share Natalie’s incredibly impressive and refreshing directorial debut with audiences.”

A production of Duplass Brothers Productions, Language Lessons was executive produced by Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass. The film features original music by Gaby Moreno.

Shout! Factory Cuts Deal for Four Laika Films, Including ‘Coraline’

Shout! Factory and animation studio Laika Feb. 8 announced a new alliance to distribute the latter’s first four award-winning legacy films in the U.S. home entertainment marketplace.

The multiyear agreement provides Shout! Factory with U.S. home entertainment distribution rights in all packaged media to Laika’s first four Oscar-nominated films: Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), The Boxtrolls (2014), ParaNorman (2012) and Coraline (2009).  Leveraging access to archived content from Laika, new bonus content, collectible packaging, and specialty releases are in development. As excitement builds for these upcoming home entertainment product lines, Shout! Factory and Laika will announce additional news and activities in the forthcoming months.

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“We’ve been huge fans of Laika, Travis Knight, and his extraordinary team,” said Melissa Boag, SVP of family entertainment at Shout! Factory. “Their legendary ingenuity, independent spirit and storytelling have inspired us and continue to entertain audiences worldwide. We’re incredibly excited about this new opportunity with Laika and look forward to presenting these beloved films with enlightening extras and lavish packaging to fans and collectors everywhere.”

“We’re delighted to launch our partnership with Shout! Factory,” said David Burke, Laika CMO and SVP of operations. “Their ability to maximize value for legacy titles by bringing films to entirely new audiences well after their theatrical release cycle is unparalleled in the industry.  We look forward to a long and impactful relationship with these industry leaders.”

The content deal was negotiated by Jordan Fields, VP of acquisitions, and Steven Katz, VP of business affairs for Shout! Factory, and Laika’s Michael Waghalter, head of business development, and Colin Geiger, general counsel and head of business affairs.

The titles were previously released on Blu-ray and DVD by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.