Strangers With Candy Movie in Limbo

From Variety

'Candy' plans go sour at WIP
'Strangers' looking for friends at Warner

Posted: Mon., Oct. 10, 2005, 10:00pm PT


Warner Independent Pictures won't release "Strangers With Candy" out of concern that the producers didn't secure all the needed rights, including for such items as posters and props.

Move comes as Warner Bros. Pictures regroups after being slapped with a $17.5 million rights judgment in connection with this summer's "Dukes of Hazzard." Industry insiders say the studio is being extra-vigilant.

"Strangers," starring Amy Sedaris and Stephen Colbert and based on the Comedy Central show of the same name, was the first feature produced through David Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants. Pic was directed by Paul Dinello, with supporting turns by Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Both sides say the producers did secure the necessary clearances from Comedy Central. But WIP continued to insist that there were a number of other outstanding issues.

WIP, which pacted to pay in the $3 million range when acquiring "Strangers" at Sundance earlier this year, was set to release the pic Oct. 21.

Insiders say WIP could void the contract with Worldwide Pants, which would then be free to seek out another distributor. Film is repped by John Sloss' Cinetic Media.

A Warners rep confirmed that the specialty arm is no longer releasing "Strangers," but declined to elaborate.

Worldwide Pants declined comment.

From the New York Daily News

Studio sours on 'Candy'

Looks like even Warner Independent, the studio that took a chance on "March of the Penguins" and "Searching for Comedy in the Muslim World", won't go near "Stranges With Candy".

The film, based on the cult show of the same name, was scheduled to be released later this month. But yesterday a rep for Warner told us: "It's off our release slate."

This likely comes as bad news to star Amy Sedaris and the rest of the blockbuster cast, which includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Justin Theroux, Kristen Johnston, Allison Janney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Stephen Colbert.

"It was so much fun" to film, gushed Matthew Broderick yesterday. Broderick plays a science teacher. "[Sedaris] is just the funniest person in the world."

An industry insider sniped that the delay might be due to Warner-wide overlawyering after the summer hit "Dukes of Hazzard" was socked with a series of lawsuits, mainly over rights—even though "Strangers" easily passed insurance standards. While the film has not left the studio yet, it might.

"It will definitely be released," said a source close to the project, "but probably not with Warner."

We hear that the film, which won accolades from audiences at Sundance (but was snubbed by indie filmmakers for being "too entertaining"), has other studios waiting in the wings.


WIP Dumps 'Strangers with Candy'
Tue, Oct 11, 2005, 09:10 AM PT

LOS ANGELES ( Warner Independent Pictures is jettisoning the feature film version of "Strangers with Candy," using complicated (and unspecified) clearance worries as the primary justification.

According to Variety, WIP is a bit gun-shy after parent company Warner Bros. lost a $17.5 million judgement surrounding rights to "Dukes of Hazzard."

Based on the cult Comedy Central comedy, "Strangers with Candy" stars Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello. The film was acquired for roughly $3 million after solid notices from Sundance and features high profile cameos by the likes of Ian Holm, Allison Janney, Matthew Broderick, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The industry trade reports that while the necessary clearances were secured from Comedy Central, there were still other rights-related problems. WIP had originally intended to release the comedy on Oct. 21, but will now likely void its contract with producer Worldwide Pants and let the company seek a new distributor.

From E! Online

No "Candy" For Warners

by Sarah Hall
Oct 11, 2005, 12:00 PM PT

Strangers with Candy is in need of a distributor with more of a sweet tooth.

The feature-length version of the Comedy Central series, featuring Amy Sedaris as a 46-year-old reformed junkie who returns to high school as a freshman, was slated for an Oct. 21 release via Warners Independent Pictures.

The studio acquired the much-buzzed-about film last winter at Sundance for a reported $3 million.

However, fearing that the film's producers had failed to secure the necessary rights for items such as posters and props, WIP decided that it will not release the film as planned, Daily Variety reports.

The film, starring Sedaris and Stephen Colbert, and featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Philip Seymour Hoffman in supporting roles, was the first feature produced through David Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants.

Though the company claimed it secured the necessary rights for the film from Comedy Central, WIP insisted there were numerous outstanding issues complicating the film's release.

The studio is reportedly gun-shy in the wake of a $17.5 million decision against Warner Bros, Pictures last summer in connection with The Dukes of Hazzard.

Warner Bros. ponied up the millions to ensure the Jessica Simpson vehicle would arrive in theaters as planned after Georgia-based producer Robert B. Clark was awarded a preliminary injunction on his claim the studio had infringed on the copyright to his obscure 1975 United Artists film Moonrunners, upon which the television edition of The Dukes of Hazzard was based.

In his lawsuit, Clark argued that Warner Bros. had purchased the TV rights to his script, but had neglected to put up the dough for the movie rights.

Not wanting to risk the $40 million spent on promoting the film, Warners plunked down the cash. As a result, the studio is apparently being extra careful about making a similar mistake.

According to Variety, WIP may void the contract with Worldwide Pants, leaving the production company free to seek another distributor for Strangers.

From the October 21, 2005 issue of Entertainment Weekly

'Candy' Barred
Will Strangers ever meet the big screen?

JERRI BLANK, AMY SEDARIS' ex-con-junkie-whore alter ego from Comedy Central's cult TV series Strangers With Candy won't be cutting up on the big screen anytime soon. Last January at Sundance, Warner Independent Pictures picked up the Strangers prequel (produced by David Letterman's Worldwide Pants) for $3 million, but after setting and canceling two release dates, the company now confirms that it "is no longer releasing the movie." Sedaris was told the problem stems from uncleared rights to 80 background items, including posters. Insiders chalk up WIP's skittishness to a dustup over rights with The Dukes of Hazzard that cost parent company Warner Bros. $17.5 million. Sedaris says Strangers co-creators/costars Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello (who directed) are disappointed, but she's confident they'll find a new distributor: "If it came out on time, that would have been too perfect for Strangers. 'Cause it's just for losers, you know?"
Missy Schwartz

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