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IFC Films hearts "Valentine's Day"

By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - IFC Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the romantic comedy "I Hate Valentine's Day," starring Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.

The acquisition reunites Vardalos and Corbett with IFC, which turned their previous screen teaming, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," into an unexpected indie blockbuster that grossed $241.4 million domestically in 2002.

In "Valentine's," Vardalos plays a florist who keeps her relationships brief by sticking to a five-date rule that is tested by a new romance with a restaurateur played by Corbett.

"Wedding" prospered as a platform release, gradually widening its number of screens. "Valentine's" is employing the new video-on-demand model that IFC has been promoting. Beginning July 1, the distributor will make the movie available on its IFC in Theaters VOD platform, which will be augmented by theatrical engagements in New York and Los Angeles and other select cities.

The film also will go through IFC's deal with Blockbuster, making it available in Blockbuster's stores, via its by-mail subscription service and in digital downloads at Blockbuster.com.

Written by Vardalos, who is making her directorial debut with the feature, "Valentine's" also stars Judah Friedlander, Rachel Dratch and Zoe Kazan, who just won the best actress award at the Tribeca Film Festival for "The Exploding Girl."

Before "Valentine's" is released, Vardalos will be seen on the big screen in the comedy "My Life in Ruins," which Fox Searchlight releases June 5.

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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