As exclusively reported by Deadline, Vertical has secured the North American rights to the MPI Original Film Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game, which premiered at the prestigious Hamptons International Film Festival and went on to win awards at several other festivals. Based on a true story and written and directed by The Bragg Brothers (Austin & Meredith Bragg), the film centers on the story of Roger Sharpe, a GQ journalist and real-life pinball wizard who, in 1976, helped overturn New York City’s 35-year ban on pinball. Vertical will release the film day and date on March 17, 2023.
The film stars BAFTA and Tony Award-nominated Mike Faist (West Side Story), Crystal Reed (Teen Wolf), Dennis Boutsikaris (Better Call Saul), Christopher Convery (Prisoner’s Daughter), Damian Young (Ozark), and Mike Doyle (New Amsterdam).
An unsettled writer with a fantastic mustache, Roger Sharpe (Mike Faist) finds solace and confidence in the one thing he has mastered: pinball. When a police raid destroys the only machines he can find in 1970s New York City, he learns the game is illegal in the state. Roger reluctantly joins forces with the Music and Amusement Association to overturn the ban while falling in love with Ellen (Crystal Reed), an artist and single mother. Roger’s path to save pinball teaches him what it means to take a chance—and that commitment is the most rewarding gamble of all.
The film is produced by Summer Crockett Moore, Tony Glazer, Stacey Parks, Lana Link, and Rob Pfaltzgraff, p.g.a., with executive producers Roger C. Sharpe and Nick Reid. Jon Keng is the film’s cinematographer.
“MPI Original Films is pleased to partner with Vertical to bring this uplifting and charming story to theaters and homes across the U.S.,” said producer Rob Pfaltzgraff, p.g.a. “With an exceptional cast and the brilliant writer/directors The Bragg Brothers, Pinball’s message about taking chances in life will resonate with audiences, even if they don’t know much about the game or its quirky history.”
Vertical’s SVP of Acquisitions Tony Piantedosi stated, “We are thrilled to bring this wonderfully crafted and exceptionally well-acted film to audiences this spring. Visually capturing the look and feel of 1970’s New York City, this unique story is so engaging and different, it will bring a smile to your face and warm your heart allowing you to feel everyone has a reset button in life – no quarters needed.”
Piantedosi negotiated the deal on behalf of Vertical, while producer Rob Pfaltzgraff negotiated on behalf of the production.