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Weinstein Co. picks up ‘Blue Valentine’

Studio also moving closer to 'The Tillman Story'

PARK CITY, Utah — Proving it is firmly back in the game, The Weinstein Co. will walk away with at least one, if not two titles from the 2010 Sundance film fest lineup.

Putting down just north of $1 million, TWC acquired North American and pan-Asian TV rights to writer-director Derek Cianfrance’s relationship drama “Blue Valentine,” starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.

Distrib also was close to snagging North American, U.K., Australia and New Zealand rights on docu “The Tillman Story,” the military death exposé about NFL player Pat Tillman, helmed by Amir Bar-Lev and written by Mark Monroe (“The Cove”).

Harvey Weinstein and his lieutenants have been in Sundance all week gunning for a purchase to signal TWC is back. Company’s new acquisition fund, among other recently re-upped financing, is helping Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s hobbled distribution empire grab another shot.

Signs of TWC’s renewed acquisitiveness began in Toronto, with its aggressive pursuit and pickup of Tom Ford’s “A Single Man,” a deal that, at the time, seemed like a risky gamble for the title given the uncertainty over company’s financial health.

But many sellers at Sundance expressed renewed faith in TWC’s purchase power and P&A prowess to distribute films.

“Blue,” a dramatic competition title that has won praise for Gosling and Williams’ performances, was produced by Lynette Howell, Jamie Patricof and Alex Orlovsky.

Producer on competition docu entry “Tillman” is John Battsek.

Cianfrance’s first film was fest prizewinner “Brother Tied”; he also won Sundance’s cinematography prize for “Streets of Legend” (AKA “Quattro Noza”) in 2003.

“Blue” had five other suitors. “Tillman” had three additional offers pending as sellers were waiting on approval from financier A&E on the TWC offer.

WME handled the deal for “Blue Valentine.” CAA and Submarine are repping the “Tillman” sale.

Deals come on the heels of various other purchases at Sundance, marking the most energetic pickup climate at the fest in recent years. Lionsgate bought “Buried” on Sunday night. Purchases for “Twelve,” by Hannover House; “Hesher,” by Newmarket Films; and “The Kids Are All Right,” by Focus, followed during the course of this week.

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