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River Phoenix's last film to be released

Eighty percent of "Dark Blood" was shot when River Phoenix died of a drug overdose.
By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |   May 17, 2014 at 1:11 PM

CANNES, France, May 17 (UPI) -- More than 20 years after his death, River Phoenix's last film, Dark Blood, will finally be released by Lionsgate.

The western was shot in 1993, the same year the actor died of a drug overdose, but a rights battle left it unreleased.

Lionsgate is planning a VOD release of Dark Blood after it was sold at the Cannes Film Festival by Cinemavault.

About 80 percent of the film was shot when Phoenix died and the rights of the unfinished movie were then controlled by its insurance company. Director and co-writer George Sluizer took control of the rights two days later.

It "laid in my care for many years waiting for something to happen with it. I was making other films at the time and it was safe," Sluizer said.

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