Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s Screen Media Acquires North American Rights to Zac Efron Survival Thriller ‘GOLD’

Cos Cob, CT

Published on: June 7, 2021

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE), one of the largest operators of streaming advertising-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) networks, today announced the Screen Media acquisition of all North American rights to writer / director Anthony Hayes’ upcoming thriller GOLD, in which he co-stars with Zac Efron (The Greatest Showman, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile), and Susie Porter (The Monkey’s Mask, Cargo). Hayes is known for memorable roles in Animal Kingdom, The Square and The Slap. Following a competitive bidding war among many contenders at last year’s AFM, Screen Media came out on top, purchasing the film, which was filmed in South Australia late last year, and is currently in post-production.


GOLD is about greed and the lengths people will go to in order to secure themselves a fortune. When two men traveling through the remote desert stumble across the biggest gold nugget ever found, they must hatch a plan to protect and excavate the gold. One leaves to secure equipment while the other stays behind to protect the discovery... at all costs. GOLD is written by Anthony Hayes and Polly Smyth, and produced by John Schwarz, Michael Schwarz (Danger Close, Killerman), and Hayes. Executive producers are Andrew Mann, Peter Touche, Simon Williams, Paul Wiegard, Will Clarke, Andy Mayson, Nick Forward and Mike Runagall. Altitude Film Sales is handling foreign sales for the project. GOLD will screen in Australia on the streaming service Stan as a ‘Stan Original Film’ after a cinema release through Madman Entertainment.


“It is always every filmmaker’s dream to make a film and snag a large North American release for their film and a bidding war is even more rare,” said Hayes. “It is a testament to our film GOLD and to everyone who worked so hard to bring it to life that Screen Media will shepherd this film into cinemas and beyond in North America. It proves the indie film landscape is alive and well and that distributors and audiences alike have a voracious appetite for films made outside the studio system.”


“We cannot wait for audiences to discover GOLD when it arrives on the big screen next year,” said Screen Media in a statement. “Anthony and Polly have crafted a gritty and unforgettable parable for the pitfalls of the modern world and Zac is the perfect choice to bring this thrilling and relentless story to life.”


The deal was negotiated on behalf of Screen Media by Seth Needle, SVP of Global Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Screen Media, with Mike Runagall, Managing Partner at Altitude Film Sales, on behalf of the filmmakers.


Screen Media’s recent acquisitions include the Megan Fox thriller Till Death, and mafia thriller The Birthday Cake starring Shiloh Fernandez, Ewan McGregor, and Val Kilmer. Recent releases include the critically acclaimed documentary Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street, Senior Moment starring William Shatner, Jean Smart and Christopher Lloyd, the Bella Thorne thriller Girl, Simon West’s action disaster film Skyfire, and the Nicolas Cage hit Willy’s Wonderland.



Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE) operates streaming video-on-demand networks (VOD). The company owns Crackle Plus, which owns and operates a variety of ad-supported and subscription-based VOD networks including Crackle, Popcornflix, Popcornflix Kids, Truli, Pivotshare, Españolflix and FrightPix. The company also acquires and distributes video content through its Screen Media subsidiary and produces original long and short-form content through Landmark Studio Group, Chicken Soup for the Soul Unscripted, and Halcyon Television. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is a subsidiary of Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC, which publishes the famous book series and produces super-premium pet food under the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand name.



Screen Media Ventures, LLC, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (Nasdaq: CSSE) company, acquires the rights to high quality, independent television series and feature films. Screen Media Ventures acquires worldwide rights for distribution through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, video-on-demand, and new digital media platforms. The company acquires AVOD rights for third party networks and is the main supplier of content for Crackle Plus and other Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment properties. With a library of over 1,500 television series and motion pictures, Screen Media Ventures is one of the largest independent suppliers of high-quality tv series and motion pictures to U.S. and international broadcast markets, cable networks, home video outlets and new media venues. For more information, visit:



This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements are based on various assumptions, whether or not identified in this press release, and on the current expectations of management and are not predictions of actual performance. Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those risks set forth in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020. If any of these risks materialize or our assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof and the Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Company’s expectations with respect thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based.



Altitude Media Group is the independent UK based studio led by Will Clarke chairman and joint-CEO with Andy Mayson, comprising of Altitude Film Production, Altitude Film Sales with Managing Director Mike Runagall, Altitude Film Distribution with Managing Director Hamish Moseley and Altitude Factual with Managing Director Paul Sowerbutts. In February 2020 US based investment group 30WEST took a significant minority stake in the group.


Altitude Film Sales’ slate includes: ALI & AVA written and directed by Clio Barnard; survival thriller Out Come The Wolves from the Canadian filmmaker Adam MacDonald, SAS: Red Notice starring Sam Heughan, Ruby Rose, Andy Serkis, Hannah John-Kamen, Tom Hopper and Tom Wilkinson; Son, Ivan Kavanagh’s horror starring Andi Matichak and Emile Hirsch; The Power by BAFTA-nominated writer-director Corinna Faith and starring Rose Williams; Great White directed by Martin Wilson, starring Katrina Bowden; Jetski, directed by James Nunn; feature documentary Diana from Academy-Award nominee Ed Perkins; and Chasing Chaplin from BAFTA and Sundance nominated filmmakers Peter Middleton and James Spinney.


Investor Relations

Taylor Krafchik
Ellipsis IR

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RooneyPartners LLC
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