Neon has snatched the domestic theatrical rights to Justin Simien’s new horror film “Bad Hair.”
The Oscar-winning distributor behind “Parasite” will take the film out to drive-in theaters nationwide before it debuts October 23 on Hulu in October, Variety has learned.
Markets will include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Sacramento and Las Vegas. “Bad Hair” was acquired for millions out of Sundance this year, where it was received as an energetic American take on hair horror and a probe of black female identity.
Hulu is Neon’s streaming video partner, and the companies have enjoyed fruitful partnerships on titles like “Palm Springs,” the Sundance sale record-breaker from Andy Samberg which premiered this summer.
“Bad Hair” has played the Essence Festival, CurlFest, UrbanWorld, where Simien received the 2020 Festival Ambassador Award, the Chicago Film Festival, New York Comic Con, Beyond Fest and One Music Festival. Simien wrote and directed the project, and produced alongside Sight Unseen’s Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, and Eddie Vaisman.
The film follows Anna, an aspiring music television personality grinding as an assistant at a beleaguered network. When a new boss (Vanessa Williams) reformats the station in step with a glossier, commercial aesthetic, Anna is pressured to conform to the uniform of the day — one that strays from natural black hair in favor of sleek weaves. As she bathes in the attention of a new look, Anna realizes with increasing alarm that her new hair has a mind of its own.
The film stars Elle Lorraine, Williams, Lena Waithe, Laverne Cox, Jay Pharoah, Kelly Rowland, Blair Underwood, James Van Der Beek, and Usher Raymond. Executive Producers include Leonid Lebedev, Oren Moverman, and Alex G. Scott. The film is produced by Sight Unseen in association with Culture Machine.
Simien has previously collaborated with the Sight Unseen team on the Sundance hit “Dear White People,” with Lebedev serving as executive producer on the series of the same name, which is now in its fourth season on Netflix. Sight Unseen is also behind Cory Finley’s “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman, which won the Emmy for outstanding television movie following its debut on HBO.
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