Though Joss Whedon has floated the idea of releasing Much Ado About Nothing over iTunes if the film couldn’t find a theatrical distributor, in truth it seemed unlikely that the man behind the $1.5 billion Avengers juggernaut would be unable to find some studio, somewhere, willing to strike a deal. And indeed, Lionsgate / Roadside has now stepped up to release the film. The company also released Drew Goddard’s Whedon-scripted Cabin in the Woods earlier this year. More on the Much Ado deal after the jump.

Shot in just 12 days on a shoestring budget as The Avengers entered post-production, Much Ado About Nothing moves William Shakespeare‘s classic romantic comedy to present-day Los Angeles. The cast consists mostly of previous Whedon associates. Angel‘s Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof lead as the bickering Beatrice and Benedick, while the likes of Fran Kranz (Dollhouse), Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Sean Maher (also Firefly), and Clark Gregg (The Avengers) fill out the supporting roles.

THR reported the acquisition from the Toronto Film Festival, where Much Ado premiered this weekend to glowing reviews. Lionsgate / Roadside have been especially busy at this year’s event. In addition to Much Ado, the company has also picked up Kristen Wiig’s Imogene and the Mark Ruffalo / Gwyneth Paltrow starrer Thanks for Sharing in the past 24 hours.

Last spring, Lionsgate / Roadside did Whedonites a solid by picking up Cabin in the Woods, which had been shelved in 2010 due to MGM’s financial woes. Whedon expressed his excitement at going back to the studio that dusted off that film and finally put it into theaters this past April. ”That [Lionsgate / Roadside] embrace a Shakespearean romance with the same enthusiasm they had for Cabin in the Woods shows that they’re exactly the mad fools we want to be partying — I mean working — with,” he said.

For their part, Lionsgate praised Whedon’s versatility. “Who else can tackle horror, superheroes and Shakespeare all in one year?” said president of acquisitions Jason Constantine. No word yet on when Much Ado About Nothing will open outside the festival circuit, but the deal definitely brings the release one step closer.

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