Sony Pictures Classics bought North American, Australian and New Zealand rights to Higher Ground, the directorial debut of actress Vera Farmiga that made its debut at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. She stars with John Hawkes (Oscar-nominated for Winter’s Bone), Donna Murphy and Joshua Leonard. The film is an adaptation of This Dark World: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost, by Carolyn S. Briggs, who wrote the script with Tim Metcalfe. It’s a study of a woman’s internal struggle with the primary love relationships in her life over two decades. The child of a traumatic divorce, she and her partner dedicate their lives to God and a small hippie church, but some of the machinations of that church give her pause. CAA brokered the deal.
Sony Pictures Classics partners Michael Barker and Tom Bernard and exec Dylan Leiner add another acquisition title to what proved to be a bountiful Sundance. They made preemptive buys of the Michael Shannon-starrer Take Shelter and the Morgan Spurlock documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Story Ever Sold. At the festival, they bought the John Michael McDonagh-directed The Guard, the Irish action comedy which stars Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle.
EXCLUSIVE: Oprah Winfrey’s upstart cable network OWN continued its aggressive buying at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival by acquiring North American rights to Crime After Crime, the Yoav Potash-directed documentary. I’m told the deal was six figures, and that OWN … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Oscilloscope is close to a deal to acquire English language territories for Bellflower, the Evan Glodell-directed action film which premiered January 21 in Sundance’s Next Films category of low budget fare. Glodell made his helming debut in a film … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has closed a deal for Hot Coffee, the Susan Saladoff-directed competition documentary which focuses on how corporations have used the memory of outlandish legal verdicts as a way to press for tort reforms and avoid jury trials through … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE 2ND UPDATE: Two days after buying English speaking rights to Another Earth, Fox Searchlight has acquired worldwide rights to the film. That makes Searchlight’s minimum guarantee commitment around $3 million. Relative to its $150,000 budget, Another Earth walks away with one of the bigger commitments to a small film in recent memory, maybe since The Blair Witch Project. The picture has received glowing reviews for director Mike Cahill and the script he wrote with Brit Marling. She stars with William Mapother in a drama with sci-fi elements. Foreign buyers responded, and the sellers scheduled a screening in Hollywood today. Much to the chagrin of buyers, it has been canceled, after Searchlight stepped up last night and closed in a deal with WME Global’s Graham Taylor, Preferred Content’s Kevin Iwashina, and Andre Des Rochers. It is one of two WME-brokered pictures expected to go today. The other is the Dito Montiel-directed The Son Of No One. Despite a trade slam piece, the movie has five distributors circling, and the auction is around $2 million so far, I hear. The deal could be done before the film’s official premiere this evening. WME is brokering that deal with Cassian Elwes. Read More »
IFC Films and Sony Pictures Worldwide teamed for North American rights to Salvation Boulevard, the George Ratliff-directed film that stars Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear, Jim Gaffigan and Marisa Tomei. Brosnan plays a charismatic preacher who captivates … Read More »
Following the preemptive acquisition of the documentary Project Nim by HBO, there was some question of whether theatrical distributors would be as excited about acquiring the film, when all of its rights were now spoken for. Roadside Attractions has stepped up. Here’s the release:
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EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire The Devil’s Double, the Lee Tamahori drama about the man who was forced to become the body double of Saddam Hussein’s thuggish son, Uday. Lionsgate team has been pursuing the film … Read More »
IFC Films has acquired North American rights to director David Mackenzie’s romantic thriller Perfect Sense, which debuted in the Premieres section this week.
Musicians spiced up the 2011 Sundance Film Festival last weekend, with films involving Lou Reed, James Taylor and the Grateful Dead. And then there was iconic ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, who spent the weekend meeting potential studio partners for three new horror films he has set under his Slasher Films producing label.
Slash launched Slasher Films last fall by setting up the Jonathan W.C. Mills-scripted fright film Nothing to Fear. He has partnered with Scout Productions’ Michael Williams and Rob Eric to acquire three horror film packages. Jay Russell is attached to direct Wake the Dead, a contemporary re-imagining of Frankenstein. It is adapted from the graphic novel by Steve Niles, whose work has been turned into such films as 30 Days of Night.
A deal is being made to produce Theorem, to be helmed by Splice director Vincenzo Natali from a script he wrote with Mike Finch. Pic is about a genius college professor who, trying to break down the genetic compound of an ancient artifact, discovers it’s a relic from hell and that he has unwittingly unlocked the equation for evil. Steve Hoban is producing. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Classics has closed a 7-figure deal for U.S. and Latin American distribution rights to The Guard, the Irish action comedy written and directed by John Michael McDonagh. The film premiered last Thursday and multiple distributors have been … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In its second Sundance deal today, Participant Media has acquired North American rights to Circumstance, a tale of forbidden love in Iran, written and directed by Maryam Keshavarz. Deal is worth mid to high six figures. The picture, which … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Mickey Liddell’s Liddell Entertainment has acquired domestic and most world rights to the horror film Silent House in a deal just brokered by CAA. I’m told the deal is a $3 million minimum guarantee, and a P&A commitment upwards of $3 million. Liddell gets all territories but UK, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Participant Media and Magnolia are partnering on the U.S. distribution rights to Andrew Rossi’s Page One. Deal was mid-six figures and a commitment for a strong theatrical release. Participant will provide the backing it did past documentary successes Food … Read More »
National Geographic Films acquired US rights to Life in a Day, the docu that paired Kevin Macdonald and Ridley Scott. Pic will be released by Nat Geo domestically in partnership with YouTube. The film is culled from footage gained by asking average people around the world to capture their lives … Read More »