Focus Features announced today that it has acquired North American distribution rights to Lava Bear Films and Phantom Four's The Forest
. The supernatural thriller is being directed by Jason Zada from a script rewritten by Sarah Cornwell and based on an original idea by screenwriter David S. Goyer. Lava Bear Films is producing the film along with Goyer and Nellie Reed under his Phantom Four banner. Focus Features plans to release the film on January 8, 2016. Concurrently, Good Universe has partnered with Lava Bear to handle international sales on the film.
Peter Schlessel, CEO of Focus Features, stated, "'The Forest' will be a cinematic journey to a dark and terrifying place and Iím happy to be on that journey with Jason Zada, David Goyer, David Linde, and Tory Metzger. The supernatural scares of the 'The Forest' will be something that will genuinely thrill audiences."
Goyer said, "Jason is the real deal. He impressed us immediately with his thoughtful and emotional approach to the material."
"Working with a team of this caliber, with material this elevated, is as good as it gets," added Good Universe Co-Founder Joe Drake.
David Linde, Founder of Lava Bear, stated, "This film originated from one of our first meetings at Lava Bear, and I am especially excited to see it come together with everyone in such a thrilling form."
is a supernatural thriller set in the legendary Aokigahara Forest, a real-life place in Japan where people go to end their lives. Against this backdrop, a young American woman comes in search of her twin sister, who has mysteriously disappeared. Despite everyone's warnings not to "stray from the path," Sara dares to enter the forest to discover the truth about her sisterís fate, only to be confronted by the angry and tormented souls of the dead who now prey on anyone who crosses their paths.
Tory Metzger, President of Lava Bear, will oversee the production of the film.