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Eric Slay

Air | April 5, 2023 | Amazon | Ben Affleck, Matt Damon | Getting a theatrical release

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Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are reuniting once again, this time for the true-life story of former Nike executive Sonny Vaccarro in a feature project that will hail from Amazon Studios and Skydance Sports, who are in the process of finalizing their deal.


Affleck will direct, write, co-star and produce the untitled sports marketing drama while Damon will star and also write and produce. Mandalay Pictures, the banner run by Peter Guber and Jason Michael Berman, will produce as well.


Damon will portray Vaccarro while Affleck plays Nike co-founder Phil Knight in a story around Nike’s longshot effort to sign rising superstar basketball player Michael Jordan to its shoe company in the mid-eighties, an endorsement that seemed impossible at the time but thanks to the maverick sneaker salesman, would become the most significant relationship between an athletic brand and an athlete. The deal launched the global, multi-billion-dollar contemporary sneaker industry and also helped the sport do the same.


Key in the proceedings is the 2015 ESPN 30 for 30 documentary titled Sole Man that centered on Vaccaro and his story. Skydance Sports president Jon Weinbach, who served alongside Mandalay chairman Guber as one of the producers of the Emmy-winning Jordan series The Last Dance, was integral in obtaining Vaccaro’s life rights.


Weinbach worked with the basketball industry veteran when he co-directed Sole Man with now Skydance Sports senior vp Dan Marks. Mandalay first picked up the original screenplay titled Air Jordan and penned by Alex Convery and then brought the project to Weinbach at Skydance Sports.


Affleck and Damon are now reworking the script for the project, which will be the first major feature from David Ellison’s newly-minted Skydance Sports division. Skydance already has a tie to the sports world through its investor, RedBird Capital.


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Some great news for exhibition this morning: Amazon Studios is getting back into the wide theatrical release business with Ben Affleck’s Nike movie Air starring his fellow Good Will Hunting co-Oscar winner Matt Damon. Air will get a global theatrical release on Wed, April 5 this year, heading into the lucrative Easter weekend. This is the first wide theatrical release from Amazon since its Sundance acquisition, Mindy Kaling’s Late Night, which was a wide summer release back in 2019.


I hear Air will have a longer theatrical window than Amazon Studios’ recent limited theatrical releases, before hitting Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories. In a first of its kind arrangement for the studio, Amazon Studios will distribute the film globally with Warner Bros. Pictures handling international as part of its distribution pact with Amazon’s MGM. 


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On 4/20/2022 at 4:50 AM, filmlover said:

How many movies has Affleck been attached to direct in the past five years, none of which have gotten off the ground? I can't keep count.

Well, this is due in 3 months so I am gonna say this one is coming out.

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4 hours ago, filmlover said:

Clearly not an awards movie with this choice of release date but there must something there for Amazon to get back into the theatrical game for the first time in nearly four years? One would hope given the cast involved.

I was just going to say this. This movie screams streaming so they must be extremely confident, if not in its quality, in its prospects with theatrical audiences.

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1 hour ago, CoolioD1 said:

idk amazon dumped Thirteen Lives in the summer when that movie was actually kind of a banger that would have some awards heat if they pushed it even a little bit.

That should have been a wide release on Thanksgiving. What a stupid move that was.

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