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  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
  • WILL GLUCK IN NEGOTIATIONS TO DIRECT SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT'S "ANNIE"
  • CULVER CITY, Calif., January 30, 2013 – Sony Pictures Entertainment is in negotiations with Will Gluck to direct a broad-based re-imagining of the classic Broadway musical Annie, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, and Hannah Minghella, president of Production for the studio. The film will be produced by James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith through their Overbrook Entertainment banner, and by Shawn "JAY Z" Carter, Jay Brown, and Tyran "Ty Ty" Smith through Marcy Media. Gluck will revise the film's screenplay, which was written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the musical stage play "Annie," book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and on "Little Orphan Annie," © and ® Tribune Media Services, Inc. The film will be set in the modern day. The studio is anticipating a late fall start and is eyeing a 2014 release date.

    Commenting on the announcement, Belgrad and Minghella said, "After seeing firsthand his work on several films for Sony, including Easy A and Friends with Benefits, we're huge fans of Will Gluck. At the helm of Annie, he will bring to this film all the charm of the original Broadway production while also appealing to a new generation."

    JAY Z, who previously sampled the classic Annie song "It's the Hard Knock Life" in his chart-busting single "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)," stated, "For Marcy Media's first foray into film, we couldn't ask for better partners and mentors than Overbrook Entertainment. We are excited to work with Will Gluck and Sony Pictures Entertainment. My well-known affinity for the classic 'Hard Knock Life' makes Annie a natural vehicle to lead us into the world of the cinema."

    Willow Smith is no longer attached to the project. Says Overbrook's Miguel Melendez, "Willow was nine years old when we started developing this project, and has since grown out of the role." Overbrook and Sony will soon begin casting the role of Annie.

    Annie marks the first major feature film to come from Overbrook Entertainment's feature film partnership with Carter, which itself is a continuation of the partnership that resulted in Overbrook's investment in the successful beauty products line Carol's Daughter and in the successful Broadway production "Fela!," which earned a total of eleven Tony Award nominations in 2010.

    The project will be overseen by Minghella, Andrea Giannetti, and DeVon Franklin on behalf of the studio.

    WILL GLUCK previously directed Easy A and Friends with Benefits for Screen Gems. Easy A was a massive critical and financial success, grossing over $74m worldwide, winning Best Comedy Movie at the Critics Choice Awards, and earning newcomer Emma Stone a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy category and solidified Gluck's reputation as a filmmaker to watch. Friends with Benefits, which starred Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, was also a global sensation, taking in nearly $150m at the global box office. He is currently producing/co-creating/directing Michael J. Fox's upcoming show, which has a 22 episode order for NBC. He is also producing a pilot, "The McCarthys," for CBS.

    About Sony Pictures EntertainmentSony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; a global channel network; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of entertainment in 159 countries. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com/.

    About Overbrook EntertainmentOverbrook Entertainment, founded by partners James Lassiter, Will Smith and run along with partner Jada Pinkett Smith, is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment focused in film and television and has produced a diverse slate of both critically acclaimed and blockbuster feature films, which have generated more than $2.5 billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts and even more in home video sales.

    Some of Overbrook's most successful films include ALI, HITCH, PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, I AM LEGEND, HANCOCK, SECRET LIVES OF BEES, and most recently THE KARATE KID. Overbrook's next feature project is AFTER EARTH, which is set for a June 7th, 2013 release. They are also producing Queen Latifah's syndicated daytime talk show with Sony Pictures Television that will premiere this fall.

    For more information:Steve ElzerSenior Vice President, Media Relations(310) 244-7142steve_elzer@spe.sony.com