AMC Networks-owned RLJE Films has swooped for U.S. rights to “Shoplifters of the World.”

Inspired by true events, “Shoplifters of the World” is set over the course of one night in the life of four friends who are reeling from the sudden dissolution of British band The Smiths. The same evening, a local radio station is also hijacked by an armed, impassioned Smiths fan, resulting in a madcap evening that sends up the spirit of the 1980s.

Starring Joe Manganiello (“Magic Mike”) as the radio DJ and Ellar Coltrane (“Boyhood”) as the hijacker, the film also stars Helena Howard (“Madeline’s Madeline”) and Elena Kampouris (“Before I Fall”). “Shoplifters of the World” is written and directed by Stephen Kijak (“We Are X”) and also features 20 tracks from The Smiths.

The U.K.’s WestEnd Films, which is handling international rights, has also sold the film into Japan (Parco), China (Time-in-Portrait Entertainment), the Middle East (Front Row), Portugal (Nos Lusomundo Audiovisuais), Turkey (Fabula) and Taiwan (B-Side Film). WestEnd is overseeing sales for the title at this week’s Toronto International Film Festival.

The U.S. distribution deal was negotiated by Mark Ward and Jess De Leo at RLJE Films and the producers. RLJE Films, which recently distributed the Shia LaBeouf-starring “The Tax Collector,” is planning to release “Shoplifters” early next year.

CAA Media Finance helped to arrange financing on the film.

“With ‘Shoplifters of the World,’ Stephen Kijak brilliantly transports us right back to the 1980s with the amazing look of the film and the unbelievable soundtrack,” said Ward, chief acquisitions officer for RLJE Films. “We are incredibly excited to bring this story and these great performances to U.S. audiences in 2021.”

“Shoplifters of the World” is produced by Untitled Entertainment’s Laura Rister (“The Tale”), 3:59’s Joe and Nick Manganiello (“La Bare”) and Piccadilly Pictures’ Christopher Figg. Also producing are Phil Hoelting, Adam Schoon and Lorianne Hall. Robert Whitehouse, from Piccadilly Pictures, is executive producing.

WestEnd Films’ TIFF slate also includes Pierce Brosnan-starrer “The Last Rifleman,” Frieda Pinto and Constance Wu’s “Mr. Malcolm’s List” and the Ewan McGregor-led “The Cow.”





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