Following its breakout as one of the more highly discussed titles of the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, nonagenarian action comedy Thelma, starring Oscar nominee June Squibb (Nebraska) in her first leading role, has been snapped up for North American distribution by Magnolia Pictures.
The deal came together following a competitive situation with multiple offers. Pic is slated for a wide theatrical release at a date still to be announced.
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Marking the feature directorial debut of Josh Margolin, who directed from his own script, Thelma stars Squibb as a feisty 93-year-old grandmother who gets conned by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson (Fred Hechinger). In the aftermath, she sets out on a treacherous quest across Los Angeles, accompanied by an aging friend (Richard Roundtree) and his motorized scooter, to reclaim what was taken from her. The film features the final performance of Shaft icon Roundtree and co-stars Parker Posey, Clark Gregg, and Malcolm McDowell.
Inspired by a real-life experience of Margolin’s own grandmother, Thelma also remarkably had Squibb doing most of her own stunts, commanding the spotlight as an unlikely action hero. Pic was fully financed by SPG3 Pictures. Producers were Zoë Worth and Chris Kaye of Bandwagon, Nicholas Weinstock of Invention Studios, Benjamin Simpson, and Karl Spoerri and Viviana Vezzani of Zurich Avenue, with Kat Barnette as co-producer. Squibb and Hechinger exec produced alongside Tobias Gutzwiller, with CAA Media Finance repping the film for financing and worldwide sales.
“Brilliantly marrying Magnolia’s love of action, revenge, and grandmothers, Thelma is totally unique yet universally irresistible,” said the distributor’s co-CEOs Eamonn Bowles and Dori Begley. “The team at Magnolia is beyond excited to bring Josh Margolin’s thrilling and loving caper to audiences across the country.”
Added Margolin: “This has all been a dream come true — to get to make this movie, to premiere it at Sundance, and now to release it in theaters with Magnolia. I’ve admired their films for years and feel truly lucky to be partnering with them. We’re so excited to share Thelma.”
SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden negotiated the deal for Magnolia, with CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers.
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