Feature Film

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires ‘Ruben Brandt, Collector’

The intriguing Hungarian action-crime thriller Ruben Brandt, Collector is headed to U.S. theaters courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. The company has acquired all rights in North America and Latin America.

Sony plans to release the film theatrically in 2019, with an end of year qualifying run.

The 2d animated noir tale is unlike any other recent animated feature:

Ruben Brandt, a famous psychotherapist, is forced to steal 13 paintings from the world’s renowned museums and private collections to prevent his suffering from terrible nightmares he has as a result of subliminal messaging he received as a child. Accompanied by his four patients, he and his band of thieves strike regularly and with great success: the Louvre, Tate, Uffizi, Hermitage, MoMA… Identified as “The Collector,” he quickly becomes the most wanted criminal in the world. Gangsters and headhunters chase him around the world while the reward for his capture keeps rising, approaching a hundred million dollars. A cartel of insurance companies entrusts Mike Kowalski, a private detective and leading expert on art theft, to solve the “Collector Case.”

The film marks the feature animation debut of Milorad Krstić, 66. He’s no stranger to animation: his short My Baby Left Me won both the Silver Bear at the Berlin film festival and best first film at Annecy, and his cd-rom Das Anatomische Theater (co-created with his wife Radmila Roczkov), with two hours of interactive animation, received the Annecy-MIFA award for best interactive project in 1999.

Ruben Brandt, Collector, budgeted around USD$4.25 million, was financed by the Hungarian National Film Fund and the Hungarian Film Incentive. The deal was negotiated between Sony Pictures Classics and HNFF World Sales.

Read our interview with writer-director Milorad Krstić, published last month when the film world premiered at the Locarno film festival in Switzerland.

A pick-up from Sony Pictures Classics is a strong indication that the film is worthwhile. The last animated film they released was Michaël Dudok de Wit’s The Red Turtle, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2017. Other animated films they have distributed in the U.S. have all been of superb quality, including The Triplets of Belleville, Paprika, Persepolis, and Waltz with Bashir.

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