Screen Media and Legion M announced today the acquisition of all North American rights to Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary feature film Memory: The Origins of Alien. The film premiered to rave reviews in the Midnight Section at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and screened at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, CPH: DOX, Hot Docs and many others. Screen Media and Legion M plan to release the film in theaters this summer, timed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the theatrical release of Alien. The deal comes on the heels of Screen Media’s recent acquisition of Corporate Animals, which also premiered in the Midnight Section of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Paris-based Indie Sales is handling sales for the rest of the world.
Memory: The Origins of Alien unearths the largely untold origin story behind Ridley Scott’s cinematic masterpiece, and reveals a treasure trove of never-before-seen materials from the archives of Alien creators Dan O’Bannon and H.R. Giger – including original story notes, rejected designs and storyboards, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, and O’Bannon’s original 29 page script from 1971, titled Memory. The documentary also takes fans on an exploration of the mythical underpinnings of Alien and dedicates focus on the film’s iconic “Chestburster” scene.
Leveraging the “wisdom of the crowd,” Memory: The Origins of Alien was one of the highest rated Sundance films on Legion M’s innovative SCOUT platform, where fans in Park City and around the world had the opportunity to become film scouts by rating and evaluating information on nearly 120 films premiering at the festival. The Legion M Scout community provided data that directly influenced the companies’ decision to acquire the documentary.
The film is an Exhibit A Pictures production, produced by Kerry Deignan Roy; and co-produced by Annick Mahnert of Screen Division, Chad Herschberger of Milkhaus, and Robert Muratore of Exhibit A Pictures. Diane O’Bannon, Carmen Giger and Leslie Barany served as executive producers.
Memory: The Origins of Alien marks the fifth feature doc from Philippe, Roy and Muratore’s Exhibit A Pictures, including 78/52, a film about Hitchcock’s Psycho shower scene, Doc of the Dead, The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus and The People Vs. George Lucas. They are currently working on a film about The Exorcist with William Friedkin.
“With Screen Media’s distribution savvy, and Legion M’s profound understanding of, and access to the fans, our film couldn’t be in better hands,” says director Alexandre O. Philippe. “I’m confident that Memory, our fitting follow-up to 78/52, will resonate well beyond Alien fandom, as a deeper, darker, richer contemplation on the magic and mystery of cinema.”
“Our team is thrilled about this partnership,” said producer Kerry Deignan Roy. “Screen Media and Legion M have sensational plans we can’t wait to see come to life!”
“Alien – specifically the demise of John Hurt’s chest – is seminal moment in cinema – one where you remember exactly where you were when you first saw it,” said Seth Needle, SVP of Worldwide Acquisitions at Screen Media. “Alexandre and Kerry have done an incredible job creating the buzz from that film with Memory: The Origins of Alien, and we know hardcore fans of the series and mainstream audiences alike will love watching this.”
“While most acquisition decisions are made by a small group of executives, Legion M called on the power of our community to help us decide which Sundance film was worth acquiring,” said Paul Scanlan, Co-Founder and CEO of Legion M. “Through first-time use of our proprietary SCOUT platform, we discovered that our Film Scouts were as overwhelmingly supportive of Memory: The Origins of Alien as our executive team, making it an incredibly easy decision to get behind this amazing documentary.”
Seth Needle, SVP, Worldwide Acquisitions at Screen Media and Paul Scanlan, Co-Founder and CEO, and Terri Lubaroff, COO and Head of Content, at Legion M negotiated the deal with Raphael Aknin, VP of Legal, and Nicolas Eschbach, CEO, at Indie Sales on behalf of the filmmakers.
The acquisition marks the first film title in the new partnership launched between Screen Media and Legion M. In December 2018 the two companies announced a strategic alliance to source, develop and produce community driven original content. Through that partnership, they also plan to combine their unique strengths in the film industry to launch theatrical releases. Screen Media recently released Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote starring Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce and Paul Weitz’ Bel Canto starring Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe. Legion M recently supported Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy starring Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough and Dean Devlin’s Bad Samaritan starring David Tenant and Kerry Condon. Legion M is also a financier on Kevin Smith’s upcoming feature film Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
Alexandre O. Philippe continues to be managed by George Heller at Brillstein Entertainment. Philippe and Exhibit A Pictures are represented by Matthew Baskharoon and Nir Caspi at WME.