Lionsgate opens 'Door'; IFC makes a play for 'Word'
PARK CITY, Utah — Deals continued to pile up at Sundance on Tuesday — even as many execs began heading home — with indie banner Lionsgate grabbing world rights to helmer Chris Gorak’s debut, the dirty bomb thriller “Right at Your Door,” and IFC Films making the fest’s first docu buy, paying about $1 million for rights to “Wordplay.”
Fest this year featured the work of several first-time feature helmers, and Lionsgate’s $2 million purchase of “Door” marks the second time in Park City that a newbie has scored a pact with a major indie player.
Over the weekend, Fox Searchlight had shelled out a hefty $10 million for road-trip comedy “Little Miss Sunshine” from longtime musicvid and commercial helmers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.
“Door” follows the detonation of a dirty bomb in L.A. and a married man who decides to seal himself inside his home to escape a possibly toxic cloud. Pic stars Mary McCormack and Rory Cochrane. Jonah Smith and Palmer West of Thousand Words produced.
Gorak has been a production designer on such pics as “Lords of Dogtown,” “Blade: Trinity” and “The Clearing,” along with TV miniseries “Taken.” He also served as art director on “Fight Club,” “The Man Who Wasn’t There” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
Lionsgate Intl. will handle overseas rights, and the company said its acquisition of U.K.-based distrib Red Bus will pump up a Blighty rollout.
IFC, meanwhile, beat out a bevy of potential buyers — including Picturehouse, Warner Independent Pictures and Roadside Attractions — to get “Wordplay,” which world preemed here in the docu competition category. Cinetic Media was repping rights.
Pic takes a look at New York Times crossword editor and NPR host Will Shortz and the national tournament that he founded.
Patrick Creadon helmed “Wordplay” and Christine O’Malley produced.
Move marks the second Sundance buy for IFC Films, headed by Jonathan Sehring. It snapped up rights to the Matt Dillon starrer “Factotum” after that pic’s distribution deal with Picturehouse fell through before the fest began.
It was a busy day for IFC: Its docu “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” by Kirby Dick, was set to unspool in Sundance’s premieres section Wednesday night.
An expose of the MPAA’s ratings system, pic was created for cable net IFC, but its producers were seeking a theatrical distrib to get it onto the bigscreen prior to an IFC bow.
The film’s backers have been trying to drum up controversial hooks for the pic, which has been slapped with an NC-17 rating since it includes footage from other films that were too hot for the MPAA’s tastes.
Hong Kong and Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Films has already sealed a deal to rep international rights.
Many of Sundance’s most high-profile execs were beginning to head home, even while deals were pending for fest pics “The Illusionist” and “Half Nelson.”
Sundance runs through Sunday.