With money in their pockets to fund an acquisition-driven slate, The Weinstein Co. moved assertively to raise minimum guarantees in the competitive Sundance sellers’ market by plunking down a reported $8 million for worldwide rights to writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes’ follow-up to Mean Creek, suburban marital comedy The Details, starring Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Banks.
Harvey Weinstein was in a good mood Tuesday after earning 13 nominations for The King’s Speech and Blue Valentine. He worked with Maguire in the past on The Cider House Rules and Banks on Zack and Miri Make a Porno. TWC’s first Sundance buy (in league with financeer Ron Burkle) also stars Banks, My Idiot Brother, starring Paul Rudd; TWC paid more than $6 million for U.S. and some foreign rights. The Details was produced by Mark Gordon, Hagai Shaham and Bryan Zuriff with Mickey Liddell and Jennifer Hilton as executive producers.
Liddell, who helped to bail out Biutiful and I Love You Philip Morris (which were released by Roadside), also invested in Open Water filmmakers Chris Kentis and Laura Lau’s midnight horror flick Silent House, which was filmed in one shot and stars fest discovery Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene).
Deals have been flying. Having already bought two films (Take Shelter and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold), Sony Pictures Classics closed a deal Tuesday for U.S. and Latin American rights on world cinema title The Guard, starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle.
Relativity, which was expected to make a splash here, is closing in on Devil’s Double, Lee Tamahori’s overwrought Iraq adventure starring Dominic Cooper in a strong performance as a soldier who is forced to double for Saddam Hussein’s crazy oldest son. Fox Searchlight is among the distribs circling Mike Cahill’s micro-budget Another Earth, starring co-writer Brit Marling. The company already acquired two films, high school romance Homework and one of several religious-themed films here, Martha Marcy May Marlene, as well as remake rights to Bengali Detective. HBO acquired remake rights to Irish world cinema doc Knuckle (having acquired before the fest James Marsh’s chimp doc Project Nim, which seeks the right domestic distribution partner).