Roadside takes HBO’s ‘Project Nim’

Company acquires theatrical rights to Sundance doc

As deals start to wind down at Sundance, Roadside Attractions finalized an agreement to partner with HBO Documentary Films for the U.S. theatrical release of James Marsh’s “Project Nim.”

Leading up to Sundance, HBO acquired U.S. theatrical, video and broadcast rights to “Nim,” about a historic experiment to try to teach a chimpanzee language while raising the primate like a human child.

HBO’s acquisition of all domestic rights was a first-ever move for HBO Documentary Films, which has also partnered with Lions-gate, which has a stake in Roadside, for DVD rights.

New deal was negotiated by HBO, Submarine’s Josh Braun and Roadside co-prexy Howard Cohen. Roadside reportedly made a bid for “Nim” that included money upfront with a weighted back-end P&A commitment.

HBO was also courting several other companies, most notably Magnolia Pictures. After Magnolia nabbed rights to docu “Page One” earlier in the fest, however, “Nim” producers decided to go with Roadside instead.

Pic preemed during opening night in Park City in the World Cinema documentary competish.

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