Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has closed a deal for the Paul Rudd comedy My Idiot Brother that will amount to a minimum guarantee of $6 million-$7 million, and a $15 million P&A commitment for a wide theatrical release. That makes My Idiot Brother the biggest deal of the Sundance Festival so far, but there’s an intriguing component here. Ron Burkle, who backed Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s attempt to acquire Miramax Films and its library, will be a partner on the acquisition, the first of what is rumored to be the beginning of an ongoing relationship.

The deal comes after a marathon auction that began last night with TWC, Relativity Media and Fox Searchlight. The action on began right after the premiere screening finished. The two parties chasing it hardest were Relativity Media and The Weinstein Company. The discussions were still taking shape around 2 AM, and the feeling was the film had a good shot to reach $5 million. Reaction to the film was that it was more heartfelt than broad comedy, and some of the players looking for a can’t miss wide release  weren’t biting. Bidders broke at 6:30 AM, with TWC prevailing.  Harvey Weinstein, David Glasser and Pete Lawson reached terms with the UTA team and producers Anthony Bregman, Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf earlier today and the deal is being signed. It’s a bold play by the reconstituted Weinstein Company, which acquired domestic distribution as well as Germany, France, UK and Japan.

The Jesse Peretz-directed comedy stars Rudd as a paroled pot dealer who moves in with a succession of sisters and turns their lives upside down as he tries to get back on his feet. Burkle watched the film’s premiere, and decided to get involved.

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