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Drafthouse Films Acquires ‘Caligula: The Ultimate Cut’ For North American Release This Summer

EXCLUSIVE: Drafthouse Films has acquired Caligula: The Ultimate Cut, the 4K Ultra HD reconstruction of the notorious Tinto Brass movie.

This latest presentation of the famous movie made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2023 and includes never-before-seen footage and alternate takes and camera angles.

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Drafthouse will release the film theatrically — with an NR (Not Rated) rating — across North America in August 2024, followed by a streaming and 4K UHD Blu-ray release. The UHD Blu-ray will have new interviews with star Malcolm McDowell and the film’s reconstructionist, art historian Thomas Negovan.


Initially Released in 1980, Caligula was one of the most expensive independent films to date but had a tumultuous journey to screen. Written by Gore Vidal and starring Malcolm McDowell, Dame Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole and Sir John Gielgud, Penthouse founder (and the film’s financer) Bob Guccione seized control of the negative and made significant changes to the movie, including the addition of graphic scenes of unsimulated sex and gratuitous violence.

The cast and film team disavowed the cut and Vidal had his name removed from the project. The extensive coverage of behind-the-scenes notoriety also helped to make the movie a cult classic.

The story follows the ascent to Caesar and subsequent reign of Caligula, one of the most notorious leaders of ancient Rome.

Caligula: The Ultimate Cut includes the addition of a prologue that illustrates one of Vidal’s missing scenes, created by graphic artist Dave McKean, and there is a new wraparound score by composer Troy Sterling Nies. While the reconstruction was heralded by actor McDowell, in keeping with the film’s tumultuous 45-year journey, it was disavowed last year by director Brass.

The North American distribution deal was negotiated by Nick Savva, CEO of Drafthouse Films, with Josh Braun and Dan Braun of Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.

Caligula is a unique piece of cinema history and I am honored to be a part of its journey back to the big screen,” said Savva. “Audiences should strap in and prepare themselves for a three-hour epic extravaganza like no other. They truly don’t make them like this any more.”

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