Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7

Aaron Sorkin‘s upcoming drama The Trial of the Chicago 7 was meant to be released in theaters this fall by Paramount Pictures. The studio had slated the movie for a limited release on September 25 followed by a wide release on October 16. However, Netflix is now negotiating to acquire the global rights to the movie from Cross Creek Pictures, which would give the streaming service another awards contender.

UPDATE: Deadline reports Netflix has officially picked up global distribution rights for the movie with a $56 million deal. Our original story from June 22, 2020 follows below.

Variety has news on Netflix trying to grab the global rights to The Trial of the Chicago 7, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. What’s not clear is why Paramount Pictures is no longer releasing the movie. It’s possible the studio doesn’t have confidence in the movie they had before, but if that were the case, I’m not sure Netflix would be pursuing the global rights. What might be more likely is that Paramount Pictures thinks the cost of distributing the movie is too much of a financial risk in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on show business.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 certainly sounds like it will be a key contender in the upcoming awards race. The movie follows the infamous 1969 trial of seven men charged by the federal government with conspiracy following the counter-cultural anti-Vietnam protests in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. What started as peaceful protests turned to a violent clash with police and the National Guard, which sounds more relevant than ever right now.

The cast includes Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Richard H. Shultz, William Hurt as John N. Mitchell, Mark Rylance as William Kunstler, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale, Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin, Frank Langella as Julius Hoffman, and Michael Keaton as Ramsey Clark, a progressive lawyer who was also a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century.

Netflix is negotiating the deal for The Trial of the Chicago 7 right now, but there’s a chance it could fall apart if they aren’t able to secure international rights. The streaming service likes to be in control of worldwide distribution when it acquires a movie, so the international rights are a key part of the deal. If the deal closes, the movie would join the likes of David Fincher’s Mank, Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy, and the recently released Da 5 Bloods as possible awards contenders, though awards season is going to be rather weird next spring with the overall schedule shifting back a couple months.

The movie is produced by Marc Platt, Stuart Besser, Matt Jackson and Tyler Thompson with a long list of executive producers that includes Laurie MacDonald, Walter Parkes, Marc Butan, Anthony Katagas, James Rodenhouse, Nia Vazirani, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Maurice Fadida and Shivani Rawat.

There haven’t been any trailers or even first look photos released for The Trial of the Chicago 7, but if Netflix grabs the movie, we’ll hopefully get a glimpse of the movie soon.

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