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Focus Features is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.

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Focus Features Acquires THE HEIGHTS, by Peter Hedges

Posted April 06, 2010

Focus Features Acquires THE HEIGHTS, by Peter Hedges; Author to adapt, produce and direct film version.

NEW YORK, April 5, 2010 – Focus Features has acquired The Heights, the new novel by Peter Hedges. The author will write the screenplay adaptation, and produce and direct the feature. Focus president of production John Lyons made the announcement today.

The project reteams Mr. Hedges, an Academy Award nominee as a screenwriter of About a Boy, with Mr. Lyons, whose last feature as a film producer prior to joining Focus as president of production in 2003 was Pieces of April, directed by Mr. Hedges from his original screenplay. That film earned actress Patricia Clarkson an Academy Award nomination. Mr. Hedges’ next film as writer/director was the hit Dan in Real Life, starring Steve Carell. His earlier screenwriting credits include A Map of the World, directed by Scott Elliott and for which actress Sigourney Weaver received a Golden Globe Award nomination; and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, directed by Lasse Hallström and for which actor Leonardo DiCaprio earned his first Academy Award nomination. Mr. Hedges adapted the latter film’s screenplay from his own novel of the same name.

The Heights was published last month by Dutton. The story centers on a contemporary couple raising their children in the beautiful, affluent Brooklyn neighborhood from which the book draws its name. Young parents Tim and Kate Welch have a relationship other couples envy, but their seemingly perfect world is turned upside down by the arrival of alluring, wealthy new neighbors. Focus executive vice president, production Kahli Small is supervising the project for Mr. Lyons.

Mr. Lyons commented, “I’m thrilled to be working with Peter again. He is a filmmaker of great warmth and humor, and with The Heights we will be taking full advantage of his considerable skills as both screenwriter and director.”

Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com) is a singular global company, dedicated to producing, acquiring, financing, selling, and distributing original and daring films from emerging and established filmmakers – films that challenge mainstream moviegoers to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world. The company’s flexible and nuanced approach to distribution allows it to support a wide range of films. The company operates as Focus Features domestically, and as Focus Features International overseas.

Current and upcoming Focus Features releases include Greenberg, from writer/director Noah Baumbach and starring Ben Stiller; the unique nonfiction feature Babies, directed by Thomas Balmès; Anton Corbijn’s suspense thriller The American, starring George Clooney; Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald’s Roman epic adventure The Eagle of the Ninth, starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, and Mark Strong; writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story; Joe Wright’s adventure thriller Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, and Eric Bana; Cary Fukunaga’s romantic drama Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender; Academy Award-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere; and Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo.

Focus Features and Focus Features International are part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.

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