New York-headquartered film distributor Magnolia Pictures has acquired the North American rights to Mark Landsman’s feature-length documentary Scandalous.
Produced by This Is Just A Test Media, the film will profile the National Inquirer and the American Media-owned tabloid publication’s impact on journalism, business, culture and politics. Scandalous is executive produced by CNN Films and AGC Studios.
The film sets out to explore how the late media mogul Generoso Pope, Jr., with funding from his godfather and mafia gangster Frank Costello, managed to transform the former racing and sports newspaper into a mass market grocery store tabloid.
Scandalous will blend current-day interviews with former staff and media observers to dissect why the paper – filled with scandals, gossip, medical oddities, conspiracy theories and paparazzi photos – has continued to thrive. The film will also examine the impact of the National Inquirer‘s shift into partisan politics and why the tabloid began catching and killing stories in an attempt to protect powerful men.
CNN Films will retain North American broadcast rights, while AGC International, the international sales and distribution arm of AGC Studios, will oversee international distribution rights. Magnolia is planning a theatrical release for Nov. 15.
Scandalous was produced by Aengus James, Colin King Miller, Landsman, Jennifer Ash Rudick and Kristen Vaurio. Courtney Sexton, VP for CNN Films, and Amy Entelis, EVP for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, are executive producers, alongside AGC Studios chairman and CEO Stuart Ford, and Rachel Traub.
The deal was negotiated by Magnolia EVP Dori Begley and Magnolia SVP of acquisitions John Von Thaden with CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers; by Stacey Wolf, VP of business affairs, and Kelly MacLanahan, assistant general counsel, for CNN Worldwide on behalf of CNN Films; and by AGC Studios’ VP of legal and business affairs Anant Tamirisa on behalf of AGC.
“The National Enquirer has been behind some of the headlines that have shaped our culture for the past few decades, disrupting the norms of traditional journalism in groundbreaking, yet provocative ways,” said CNN Films’ Sexton in a statement. “This is a timely and captivating tale, reflecting the zeitgeist of our time. Scandalous is a beacon to that.”
“The real story behind the National Enquirer is like a classic monster movie from the 1950s where initially the creature doesn’t intend to harm anyone, but is soon wreaking havoc on the population,” added Landsman. “I was fascinated by the men and women who made that havoc happen, and thrilled to have the opportunity to tell the inside story.”