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September 11, 2007

Matt Cowal
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Magnolia Pictures Launches Magnet, Announces Initial Slate

New Label to Specialize in Films from the Vanguard of Horror, Action, Comedy and Asian Cinema

Toronto, ON – Sept. 11, 2007 – Magnolia Pictures today announced the launch of Magnet , a new division of the unique and expanding film distribution business co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban. Specializing in the wild, unquantifiable and uncompromised, Magnet will provide an outlet for a different strand of films, which had previously been released alongside Magnolia’s traditional specialties: independent dramatic features and award-winning documentaries.

Magnolia already has a robust history of releasing acclaimed “genre” titles such as THE HOST, EXILED, TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER, SEVERANCE and ONG BAK: THE THAI WARRIOR; moving forward, Magnet will be home to productions and acquisitions that fit in this vein.

The first releases on Magnet’s eclectic international slate define the type of unconventional, risk-taking genre fare it will showcase: Toronto Midnight Madness selection BIG MAN JAPAN (DAINIPPONJIN) by Hitoshi Matsumoto; Tony Stone’s heavy metal Viking epic, SEVERED WAYS; action omnibus TRIANGLE created by the kings of Hong Kong cinema: Ringo Tam, Johnnie To, and Tsui Hark; Jeremy Saulnier’s darkly comic, hipster slasher flick MURDER PARTY; Olivier Assayas’s Cannes-selected thriller BOARDING GATE starring Asia Argento and Michael Madsen; and Mark Hartley’s expose on classic Australian genre filmmaking NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD, featuring Quentin Tarantino. Many more titles will be announced shortly.

“Some of the best, most imaginative, wild and forward-thinking cinema in the world today is being done in the context of genre filmmaking. The Magnet label will consolidate our track record with these rule-breaking films into a strong, identifiable brand,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles.

MURDER PARTY, the first film under the Magnet banner, will be released by Magnolia Home Entertainment on October 16. Other titles will see theatrical and DVD release beginning in early 2008.

"It's a kick-ass position to be in when you can look to your own company's films and know that these are the movies you’d want to buy for your personal DVD collection,” added Tom Quinn, senior vice president of Magnolia Pictures. “It’s been a standing question: how do we keep pushing the envelope and find our next ONG BAK, DISTRICT B13, or THE HOST? Launching something that isn't your dad's genre label was the answer.”

About Magnolia
Magnolia Pictures is the theatrical and home entertainment distribution arm of the Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically integrated group of media properties co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban that also include the Landmark Theatres chain, production companies 2929 Productions and HDNet Films, and high-definition cable networks HDNet and HDNet Movies.

Initial Magnet Titles

Written and Directed by Olivier Assayas
Starring: Asia Argento, Michael Madsen, Carl Loong Ng, Kelly Lin
SYNOPSIS: The new film from acclaimed and adventurous French filmmaker Olivier Assayas, BOARDING GATE is an erotic noir-thriller boasting an exciting international cast. Asia Argento plays sexy ex-prostitute Sandra, who is forced to flee London after a steamy S&M encounter with a debt-ridden ex-lover (Michael Madsen) ends in violence. Fleeing to Hong Kong in search of a fresh start, she becomes involved with an attractive young couple, Lester (Carl Ng) and Sue (Kelly Lin), who promise to help her obtain papers and money. But nothing turns out as expected for Sandra, and she finds herself trapped in a sordid game of manipulation. An Official Selection of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Written and Directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto
Starring: Hitoshi Matsumoto
SYNOPSIS: A middle-aged slacker living in a rundown, graffiti-ridden slum, Daisoto’s job involves being shocked by bolts of electricity that transform him into a stocky, stick-wielding giant several stories high who is entrusted with defending Japan from a host of bizarre monsters. But while his predecessors were national heroes, he is a pariah among the citizens he protects, who bitterly complain about the noise and destruction of property he causes. And Daisato has his own problems – an agent insistent on branding him with sponsor advertisements, an Alzheimer-afflicted grandfather who transforms into a giant in dirty underwear, and a family who is embarrassed by his often cowardly exploits. A wickedly deadpan spin on the giant Japanese superhero, BIG MAN JAPAN is an outrageous portrait of a pathetic, but truly unique hero.

Written and Directed by Jeremy Saulnier
SYNOPSIS: It’s Halloween night in Brooklyn, and Chris, a lonely, square and unremarkable man is returning home from his meter-maid job when he finds a mysterious invitation on the street. Following it to what he believes will be a fun costume party, he discovers that he’s stumbled into a lethal trap set by a gang of deranged hipster artists. Their plan is to lure someone to their remote warehouse studio and ritually murder them as part of an extreme artistic event. It’s all to impress their wealthy and sinister guru/patron, who soon arrives with promises of grant money and a creepy, dead-eyed henchman. As the booze and drug fueled night wears on, rivalries within the group flare up with gruesomely violent consequences. A body count accrues and Chris must take advantage of the ensuing chaos if he’s ever going to escape the warehouse and survive the night. No one is spared in this hilariously biting, gleefully bloody horror film.

Written and Directed by Mark Hartley
SYNOPSIS: The same cultural explosion that gave birth to Australian art classics Picnic at Hanging Rock and My Brilliant Career spawned a group of demon-children: maverick filmmakers who thumbed their noses at authority, made their own rules and in the process unleashed films such as Stork, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, Alvin Purple, Stone, The Man from Hong Kong, Patrick and Mad Max. Across the globe, audiences applauded Aussie brutes with white line fever, well-stacked heroines and stunts unparalleled in their quality and extreme danger. NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD is the first detailed examination and celebration of the Australian genre films of the 70’s and early 80’s and the undervalued auteurs and actors who brought them to life in such an explosive way.

Written and Directed by Tony Stone
Starring: Tony Stone
SYNOPSIS: In the 11th century, Vikings, Indians and Irish monks collide on the shores of North America in a historical epic adventure of exploration, personal glory, and religious dominance. Two stranded Vikings wade through a grand primeval landscape as they struggle for survival while still in the grip of their Norse ways. An impressive DIY epic, SEVERED WAYS features a frosty black metal soundtrack, including Burzum, Morbid Angel, Judas Priest and Dimmu Borgir.

Directed by Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, Johnnie To
Written By: Sharon Chung, Kenny Kan, Nai-Hoi Yau
Starring: Louis Koo, Simon Yam, Sun Hong Lei, Lam Ka Tung, Kelly Lin - Ling
SYNOPSIS: This Chinese cop caper is a first-time collaboration between Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie To, supreme masters of Asian cinema. Each of them directed a segment of the film, based on an action-packed and electrifying adventure quest they imagined as a team. It involves the characters Sam, Fai and Mok, three penniless pals, a gang of thugs, and a ceremonial robe embroidered with gold threads, the object of everyone's desire. The three buddies must choose between survival, greed and friendship.

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