First on Variety: Searchlight nabs ‘Earth’

Deal marks fourth buy for specialty distrib

PARK CITY — Fox Searchlight has picked up its fourth Sundance title “Another Earth,” helmed by Mark Cahill, for a reported $1.5 million-$2 million for domestic rights and all other English-speaking territories, with an aggressive P&A commitment sweetening the deal.

Deal closed in the early hours of Wednesday morning with pic’s reps Graham Taylor from WME and Preferred Content’s Kevin Iwashina, along with Searchlight’s exec VP of worldwide acquisitions Tony Safford, senior VP of business affairs Megan O’Brien and Ray Strache, VP of acquisitions, following a 24-hour auction after the pic’s preem on Monday night. Producer’s lawyer, Andre DesRochers, also helped negotiate the deal.

Searchlight beat out other mini-majors, the Weinstein Co. and Focus Features, who were both aggressively vying for the pic.

“Earth,” which preemed in the U.S. dramatic competish, is Cahill’s debut feature and has been deemed one of the more highly praised pics of the fest as it received a standing ovation after the screening and strong word of mouth from buyers and festgoers.

Cahill penned the story with star Brit Marling, who plays Rhoda, an ambitious MIT astrophysics student who kills a man’s family in a car accident after leaning out of the window to catch sight of a newly discovered planet. After she spends four years in prison, she returns home compelled to meet the bereaved husband and father.

Pic, which also toplines William Mapother and Jordan Baker, is produced by Cahill, Marling, Hunter Gray and Nicholas Shumaker.

Tyler Brodie and Paul Mezey exec produce, while Phaedon Papadopoulos is associate producer.

Searchlight has been one of the most active buyers at the fest this year, having already bought Elizabeth Olsen starrer “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” Gavin Wiesen’s “Homework” and remake rights to docu “The Bengali Detective.”

The distrib came into Sundance with two titles: “Cedar Rapids” and “Win Win.”

Cahill is repped by Principato-Young.

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