‘Pinball: The Man Who Saved The Game’: Vertical Acquires Indie Starring ’West Side Story’s Mike Faist & ‘Teen Wolf’s Crystal Reed

‘Pinball: The Man Who Saved The Game’: Vertical Acquires Indie Starring ’West Side Story’s Mike Faist & ‘Teen Wolf’s Crystal Reed

December 19, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: Vertical has secured North American rights to the MPI Original Film Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game, starring BAFTA- and Tony Award-nominated West Side Story breakout Mike Faist and Teen Wolf‘s Crystal Reed, slating it for a day-and-date release on March 17, 2023.

The film based on a true story centers on Roger Sharpe (Faist), a GQ journalist and real-life pinball wizard who, in 1976, helped overturn New York City’s 35-year ban on pinball. 

An unsettled writer with a fantastic mustache, Sharpe 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 then reluctantly joins forces with the Music and Amusement Association to overturn the ban while falling in love with Ellen (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.      

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Written and directed by Austin & Meredith Bragg — who collectively go by The Bragg Brothers — Pinball also stars Dennis Boutsikaris (Better Call Saul), Christopher Convery (Prisoner’s Daughter), Damian Young (Ozark) and Mike Doyle (New Amsterdam). The award-winning film premiering at this year’s Hamptons Film Festival was produced by Summer Crockett Moore, Tony Glazer, Stacey Parks, Lana Link and Rob Pfaltzgraff, with Sharpe and Nick Reid serving as executive producers.

“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 Pfaltzgraff. “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.”

“We are thrilled to bring this wonderfully crafted and exceptionally well-acted film to audiences this spring,” added Vertical’s SVP of Acquisitions Tony Piantedosi. “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.”

Current and upcoming releases for the indie distributor Vertical, founded in 2012, include Michael Jacobs’ Maybe I Do starring Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Richard Gere, William H. Macy, Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey; Darren Le Gallo’s Sam & Kate starring Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek; Hans Canosa’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, based on the New York Times bestselling novel by Gabrielle Zevin; the 2022 SXSW thriller Gone in the Night, directed by Eli Horowitz and starring Winona Ryder and John Gallagher Jr.; John Patton Ford’s Sundance 2022 thriller Emily the Criminal starring Aubrey Plaza, which this year is nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards including Outstanding Lead Performance; Krystin Ver Linden’s Sundance 2022 pic Alice starring Keke Palmer, Common, Gaius Charles and Jonny Lee Miller; and John Michael McDonagh’s The Forgiven starring Ralph Fiennes, Jessica Chastain and Matt Smith, which premiered at Tribeca 2022.

Piantedosi negotiated the deal for Pinball on behalf of Vertical, with Pfaltzgraff on behalf of the production.

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