hackford-mirren-love-ranch

In 2008, Ray director Taylor Hackford made a film called Love Ranch. Starring Helen Mirren and the return of Joe Pesci, the film is based on the real story of Joe and Sally Conforte, who in 1971 founded famed brothel the Mustang Ranch. Had the film not ended up on the shelf, it would have been Pesci’s first film since 2006′s The Good Shepherd, and his first big role in a decade.

But the film ended up mired in litigation, and has finally been freed for release. Love Ranch will hit theaters in a limited run this June, thanks to E1 Entertainment.

THR has the gory details. The backstory involves David Bergstein and Capitol Films, the same financier and company behind the MIA David O. Russell film Nailed.

Capitol Films financed the film and pre-sold it to foreign markets. Capitol was bought by David Bergstein and Ron Tutor, and in the spring of 2008 they borrowed almost $9m from Aramid Entertainment Fund, using Love Ranch as collateral. But as has been the case with seemingly  everything Bergstein was involved in for the last few years, payments never materialized, and Aramid foreclosed on the film in late 2008.

Meanwhile, what about those early global pre-sales, some of which were immediate cash deals? They’ve basically evaporated, and E1 will be able to re-sell distribution rights in some markets. Business is a bitch, right?

The plan right now is to open in New York and Los Angeles, as well as a handful of other cities, bringing the total open to somewhere between seven and ten markets. If the film does well, expect it to open wider. Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen — the film may be great, but the June release still is likely a death sentence, even if the film works on some level as tentpole counterprogamming.

You can see a tiny clip from the film here. And just for the hell of it, here’s a conversation with Hackford and Mirren about living and working together; Love Ranch is part of the discussion.

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