SCANDALOUS, a new documentary directed by Mark Landsman (THUNDER SOUL, LOS JETS) that leads viewers on a wild ride through the larger-than-life pages of the National Enquirer, highlighting the publication’s impact on journalism, business, culture and politics has been acquired by Magnolia Picture for release in US. Magnolia is planning a November 15 theatrical release. CNN Films will have North American broadcast rights, while AGC International will oversee international distribution rights.
After purchasing the New York Enquirer in the 1950s with funds supplied by his godfather (and reputed mob boss) Frank Costello, Generoso Pope, Jr. rebranded and renamed the publication the National Enquirer. SCANDALOUS explores how Pope, Jr. turned the racing and sporting newspaper into a mass market grocery store tabloid stuffed with scandal, gossip, medical oddities, conspiracy theories, and paparazzi photos. Spiked with current-day interviews with former staff and other media observers, the film dissects why the paper has thrived, the impact of its sharp turn into partisan politics, and why a tabloid marketed to ‘Missy Smith in Kansas City’ began catching and killing stories to protect powerful men, and publishing propaganda profiles of foreign despots.
“SCANDALOUS is a blast,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. “Mark Landsman has crafted a hugely entertaining origin story that turns the lens on one of America’s most infamous publications.”
“The National Enquirer has been behind some of the headlines that have shaped our culture for the past few decades, disrupting the norms of traditional journalism in groundbreaking, yet provocative ways,” said Courtney Sexton, vice president for CNN Films. “This is a timely and captivating tale, reflecting the zeitgeist of our time. SCANDALOUS is a beacon to that.”
“The real story behind the National Enquirer is like a classic monster movie from the 1950s where initially the creature doesn’t intend to harm anyone, but is soon wreaking havoc on the population,” said Landsman. “I was fascinated by the men and women who made that havoc happen, and thrilled to have the opportunity to tell the inside story.”
Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films have also shared the distribution of six other successful films including, BLACKFISH, about orcas in captivity; STEVE JOBS: The Man in the Machine, a biography of the tech inventor; ÉVOCATEUR: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie, about the culture-influencing, provocative talk show host; LIFE ITSELF, about the life of film critic Roger Ebert; WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, about the notorious Boston crime boss; and SUNSHINE SUPERMAN, a heart-racing thriller about the father of BASE jumping.
SCANDALOUS also marks another high-profile theatrical documentary partnership between AGC and CNN Films, who are partnered on the previously announced UNTITLLED JOHN LEWIS documentary, and LADY BOSS: THE JACKIE COLLINS STORY.