The report notes that Iervolino and Lady Bacardi Entertainment (ILBE) have teamed up with Samuel Goldwyn Films to give the film a North American release in theaters. Deadline also notes that MGM won’t have a hand in releasing the film, despite having acquired the film last year.
The move comes after the film’s director, Andrew Levitas, complained that MGM was “burying” the film due to Depp’s various off-screen issues that have popped up over the last few years. In July, Levitas even went so far as to send a letter to MGM asking for them to release the film. “We hope you take a moment to reflect on the impact the decisions large corporations like MGM have on others and recognize your opportunity to make a substantive difference in the lives of those who continue to suffer in unfathomable ways,” Levitas said in the letter. “People all over the world are victimized by corporations who do not value them or consider them as real, and you have the power to help by simply living up to your moral commitment to support this film.”
Minamata is a film based on the true story of highly acclaimed war photographer W. Eugene Smith, who Depp plays in the movie. During the 1970s, Smith traveled to Japan to document the effects of mercury poisoning in local communities by a corporation that was dumping chemicals into the waterways. The film originally premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2020, and has been released in other international markets, but not yet in the United States. Deadline reports that the filmmakers were able to renegotiate a deal with MGM that allows for the film to release in North America.
“I am thrilled that North American audiences will finally be able to learn about what happened and continues to happen in Minamata and around the world,” said Levitas. “The silencing of marginalized voices and those left behind (as well artists) by large corporate behemoths has to end, and with new like-minded partners this story will finally come to light in North America and hopefully offer some peace to the victims and their families who have been put through far too much.”