By Lucas Shaw
NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) - Open Road Films has acquired domestic distribution rights to ‘jOBS," the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher as the Apple co-founder.
The film will premiere on the closing night of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, but this deal takes the movie off the table before the public debut. Open Road, an independent distributor owned by major theater chains AMC and Regal, plans to release the film in April.
Inferno Entertainment is handling international sales.
Deadline Hollywood reported on Wednesday that Open Road was negotiating to acquire the project in a service deal with the producers, who would put money up for P&A. Open Road has not clarified whether that is true, and the release reports the deal as a partnership.
The film, written by Matthew Whitley and directed by Joshua Michael Stern, chronicles Jobs from 1971 to 2000. That span covers Apple's initial rise, its fall, Jobs' departure from the company, his founding of NeXT computers, his time at Pixar and his return to Apple. It concludes before the release of a series of products like the iPhone and iPad that transformed Apple into the world's most prominent technology company.
Stern and Whitley paint an intimate portrait of the irascible visionary, and the filmmakers received access to the garage where Jobs, Steve Wozniak and their friends founded Apple.
"jOBS is certain to resonate with audiences and we are thrilled to partner with Five Star Feature Films to bring this film to theaters," Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg said in a statement.
Kutcher stars as the eponymous cultural icon while Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, J.K. Simmons and Matthew Modine fill out the cast.
"We set out to find the perfect partners to present jOBS to audiences worldwide, and we feel we have found one with Open Road," Mark Hulme, the head of Five Star Feature Films and a producer of the film, said in a statement. "They were as impressed as we were with Ashton Kutcher's inspiring and unforgettable performance as Steve Jobs and are excited to distribute the picture in the U.S."
Sony is planning its own Jobs biopic, based on Walter Isaacson's critically and commercially successful biography. Aaron Sorkin is adapting the book, though he also remains the showrunner for HBO's "The Newsroom."