Trimark catches ‘Moonlight’

PARK CITY, Utah – Trimark Pictures has picked up U.S. rights to Tom DiCillo’s “Box of Moonlight” for $3 million, according to sources close to both companies. The pic is the filmmaker’s third feature to play Sundance. Both “Johnny Suede” and “Living in Oblivion” debuted at the fest in years past. The latter title, a satire of independent filmmaking, grossed $1.15 million domestically for Sony Pictures Classics in its 1995 theatrical release.

Marcus Viscidi and Thomas Bliss produced the writer-director’s nostalgic fairy tale about Al Fountain, a man who finds himself increasingly at odds with co-workers and his family. As a remedy, Fountain, played by John Turturro, sets out to find a long-gone childhood vacation spot.

The Trimark deal went down after a Tuesday-night screening here in which “Box of Moonlight” won over certain critics in major markets who had missed the film in Toronto. It also won over Trimark topper Mark Amin, who said his acquisitions team, Ray Price and Bobby Rock, had been tracking the film for months.

“I saw the movie and I just fell in love with it,” Amin told Daily Variety. Amin said he ran into Lakeshore chief Tom Rosenberg at the Paramount-based company’s party later at Park City’s tony eatery Grappa, and expressed his intention to buy the pic. Deal was concluded the next a.m. after a three-hour negotiation.

“We’re very happy about it,” said Rosenberg, who voiced confidence in Trimark’s ability to market the pic.

The acquisition underscores Trimark’s redoubled efforts to become a player in the specialized film arena. Price, previously at First Look Pictures, was a major factor in that company’s successful launch of John Sayles’ “The Secret of Roan Inish.”

DiCillo is repped by International Creative Management’s Bart Walker.

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