EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the Dito Montiel-directed cop drama The Son Of No One, which was the 2011 Sundance Film Festival’s final premiere last Friday. I’m told the deal was in the $2 million minimum guarantee range and a P&A commitment for a theatrical release in at least 10 of the top 20 markets. The film stars Channing Tatum, Tracy Morgan, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta, Juliette Binoche and Al Pacino and is a police thriller about a young cop assigned to the Queens neighborhood where he grew up. He’s forced to confront past troubles. The picture was financed by Millennium Films/Nu Image’s Avi Lerner and his partners Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short and Boaz Davidson. Before its premiere, the film had an early screening for buyers, and was forced to overcome a nasty trade article that claimed an “exodus” of walk outs, a story disputed in Deadline by sales agent and exec producer Cassian Elwes. Elwes had the last laugh as he and WME Global’s Graham Taylor closed what might be the last big sale of a festival full of them. Despite the one bad article, Elwes and Taylor had several bidders circling with offers in the $2 million range but Anchor Bay’s Kevin Kasha has sealed the deal.
Cassian Elwes, who’s selling distribution rights to Dito Montiel’s The Son of No One, is crying foul over a barbed trade story about the film’s first Sundance screening. The piece reported that a multitude of buyers were in attendance, and described an “exodus” of walk outs before the film was over. The trade declared The Son of No One is Sundance’s first bomb, a crushing blow for a film with a great cast that includes Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Tracy Morgan, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta, and Juliette Binoche.
Elwes blamed the exits on a mistake by a projectionist, and said the trade story painted an unfair picture by omitting that information. He said the slam piece has negatively impacted discussions with distributors. Elwes said he’s got three offers, but suitors are trying to use the report to get a discount.
I wasn’t at the screening, but I granted Elwes’ ask to explain what happened: “About a month ago, Dito decided to add a card, two scenes before the end of the film, that says, ‘Based on the book, Story of Milk.’ That is the character’s name in the film. Yesterday, the projectionist thought that meant the movie was over, and he turned the lights on. That’s when people got up. They thought movie had ended. Some left, but most stayed. This nasty little piece didn’t mention any of this. It’s not true …