Fantastic Fest Hit ‘Strange Darling’ Lands Wide Theatrical Release

“Strange Darling,” the acclaimed horror film from director JT Mollner, has landed a major U.S. distribution deal at veteran producer Bob Yari’s new company Magenta Light Studios. 

Premiering at the genre event Fantastic Fest in 2023, the Miramax-produced thriller has been universally praised (it currently sits at 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with 14 reviews) for its inventive narrative structure and lead performances. Magenta Light has set an August 23 wide release. 

“We are thrilled to be bringing nationwide theatrical audiences this unique and exceptional film with terrific performances by Willa Fitzgerald and Kyle Gallner. This second feature from talented writer-director JT Mollner is destined to become a cult classic that defies conventional storytelling,” Yari told Variety.

Kyle Gallner

Fitzgerald (pictured above, from MTV’s “Scream” and “Reacher”) and Gallner (“Smile,” “Scream 6”) star in the cat-and-mouse thriller about a spontaneous hookup gone terribly wrong. Many reviews hint that the film works best with as little information as possible going in, which could make for an interesting marketing campaign.

Mollner made his feature directorial debut with 2016’s Sundance player “Outlaws and Angels,” starring Chad Michael Murray and Luke Wilson. Both of his films were shot on 35mm. He’s currently adapting the Steven King novel “The Long Walk” for Lionsgate, to be directed by Francis Lawrence (“The Hunger Games” series).

“Mollner shows himself to be more forward-thinking than most of his genre peers. He’s clearly a student of the game, one who studied his forebears’ lessons with adroitness to better prepare himself to put his own mark on them,” Variety wrote in a review out of Fantastic Fest.

The film is produced by Emmy and Screen Actors Guild award nominee Giovanni Ribisi, who also served as director of photography (his camera work in the film earned him a spot in Camerimage’s Cinematographers Debuts Competition). Former Miramax CEO Bill Block, Chris Ivan Cevic, Steven Schneider and Roy Lee (“Barbarian”) also served as producers. 

Gallner is repped by Paradigm, manager Nils Larsen of Integral Artists and attorney Stewart Brookman.


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