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February 5, 2004 2:00 AM
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Roadside Attractions/Goldwyn Pick Up Sundance Hit "Super Size Me"

Roadside Attractions/Goldwyn Pick Up Sundance Hit "Super Size Me"

by Wendy Mitchell










"Super Size Me" director Morgan Spurlock undergoes physical tests after eating a McDonalds-only diet for one month. Photo courtesy of the filmmaker.

Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films have acquired the domestic theatrical and home video rights to Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me," the buzzed-about fast food documentary that recently debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. At the festival, the film spurred much acquisitions talk and won Spurlock the festival's documentary directing award. Roadside/Goldwyn plans a spring 2004 release. The director said that the version of the film that comes to theaters will be about 99 percent the same as the cut that screened in Sundance.

On Wednesday afternoon, Spurlock told indieWIRE that of the several deals the film was considering, the Roadside/Goldwyn team was the most attractive. "From the beginning they had so much passion about the movie. They are a young company that shares a lot of our mentality and enthusiasm for the project," Spurlock said. "It's a great marriage two really independent-minded groups. I think it's going to be a very fruitful collaboration." Terms of the deal weren't announced, but when asked if he was a rich man, Spurlock just said he "was a very happy man."

Goldwyn is known for distributing more narratives than docs, but Spurlock said that didn't worry him. "Our movie is much different than an ordinary doc," he told indieWIRE. "It has a much broader appeal. Roadside and Goldwyn understand that appeal and they know how to harness it."

In "Super Size Me," Spurlock explores America's obesity epidemic and the impact of fast food through interviews with experts and fast food eaters. The director himself spent 30 days eating only McDonalds food to document the impact on his health. Spurlock is a first-time feature filmmaker; his production company The Con, which is responsible for MTV's "I Bet You Will," is working on various other projects.

The deal is the first for Roadside Attractions, formed by former UTA agent Howard Cohen and producer Eric d'Arbeloff ("Lovely & Amazing," "Lifetime Guarantee: Phranc's Adventures in Plastic"). Cinetic Media negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers with Cohen and Tom Quinn, VP of acquisitions for Samuel Goldwyn Films. The filmmaker is represented by The Gersh Agency.

Samuel Goldwyn Films president Meyer Gottlieb said in a statement, "It is very difficult to create a film that is hilarious and so relevant. Morgan Spurlock pulled this off by the mouthful with his 'super size' talent."

A&E has cable broadcast rights to "Super Size Me" and will probably air the film in late 2004 or early 2005. Spurlock said that with a domestic deal now in place, the team behind "Super Size Me" will look at international deals as well. "The goal for me was to get the film out and have as many people see it as possible," he said. "For me the quicker that people can get out and experience the movie, the better."

Other recent and forthcoming Goldwyn releases include "Raising Victor Vargas," "Japanese Story," "Passionada," and "Rosenstrasse."

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