HBO Max has acquired the Seth Rogen comedy An American Pickle from Sony and will release the movie this summer under its Warner Max label, the streamer announced Monday.
Rogen’s frequent cinematographer Brandon Trost directed from a script by Simon Rich, who adapted his own 2013 New Yorker novella series Sell Out. Rogen produced with his Point Grey partners Evan Goldberg and James Weaver, which Rich executive produced alongside Point Grey’s Alex McAtee and Ted Gidlow.
Rogen plays dual roles in the film, including that of Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer who immigrates to America in 1920 with dreams of building a better life for his beloved family. One day, while working at his factory job, he falls into a vat of pickles and is brined for 100 years. The brine preserves him perfectly and when he emerges in present day Brooklyn, he finds that he hasn’t aged a day. But when he seeks out his family, he is troubled to learn that his only surviving relative is his great-grandson, Ben Greenbaum (Rogen again), a mild-mannered computer coder whom Herschel can’t even begin to understand.
An American Pickle had never been assigned a release date by Sony, but the studio had been eyeing a theatrical release later this year. That doesn’t make a ton of sense anymore, as the calendar has become crowded with summer blockbusters that were delayed in the wake of the pandemic. Thus, Sony got a quick cash infusion by selling the movie to HBO Max, which has another marquee title to market to potential subscribers. The streamer acquired rights to the Melissa McCarthy comedy Superintelligence last year.
While Rogen and his Point Grey pals would no doubt have liked to see An American Pickle be released into theaters, surely they understand the economics in play here. At least a streaming release on HBO Max guarantees that a healthy number of people will be able to see the film this year.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be partnering with HBO Max to release this film. We worked very hard and put as much of ourselves in this story as possible. We’re very proud of the end result and we can’t wait for people to get to see it,” Rogen said in a statement.
“HBO Max is in the market for motion pictures that stand out. And An American Pickle does stand out — with Seth in this wonderfully original, funny, and heartfelt film that we look forward to debuting this summer,” said HBO Max’s Kevin Reilly.
“I am a huge fan of the original New Yorker story Sell Out and am in awe of how brilliantly Seth, Simon and Brandon translated it to film as only they could have,” added HBO Max’s Jessie Henderson.