Deal marks first distrib pact of Sundance

Sundance’s closing-night selection “Jobs” will open an expected flurry of sales activity at the fest, as Open Road Films is in advanced negotiations to acquire Joshua Michael Stern’s indie movie, which stars Ashton Kutcher as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

In what is essentially a service deal that will see risk-taking producers pay for P&A, Open Road will receive a distribution fee to give “Jobs” a wide theatrical release via its network of AMC and Regal cinemas.

Five Star Institute’s Mark Hulme financed and produced the indie pic through his Five Star Features banner. CAA negotiated domestic distribution rights on behalf of the filmmakers, who were said to be determined to get the film into theaters — and were clearly willing to pay for that privilege. Open Road had no comment on the sale, which was first reported by Deadline.

Pic is likely to be released during the second half of 2013, as Open Road has nothing slated for release this year after April.

Matt Whiteley wrote the script, which chronicles Jobs from wayward hippie to co-founder of Apple, where he became one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of our time.

Josh Gad (“The Book of Mormon”) co-stars as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, while the rest of the ensemble includes James Woods, Dermot Mulroney, Matthew Modine, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, Ron Eldard, Lesley Ann Warren and Ahna O’Reilly.

“Jobs” will be the first Steve Jobs pic to hit theaters, though Sony is currently developing a high-profile movie with its Oscar-winning scribe Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network”), having acquired Walter Isaacson’s bestselling biography “Steve Jobs” around the time of his death.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more