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Phoenix wins bidding war for military thriller ‘Basic’

Studio pays $400,000 against $700,000

Sony-based Phoenix Pictures has come out the victor in a bidding war for “Basic,” paying $400,000 against $700,000 for the thriller by scribe James Vanderbilt. The company plans to put the project on a fast track into production: Under the deal, Phoenix has an 18-month window to produce the picture, after which Vanderbilt can shop it elsewhere.

Phoenix’s primary competitor was Warner Bros.-based Baltimore/Spring Creek Pictures, where Vanderbilt set up “Independence, Mississippi” last year. “Basic” garnered interest from a number of suitors, however, including Artisan, Paramount and DreamWorks.

Set in Louisiana, “Basic” is a thriller that follows a military investigation in a basic-training camp, where a disgraced homicide detective is forced to recall a murder that occurred the night before, during a devastating hurricane. Phoenix production president Christy Prunier will shepherd the project with Brad Fischer, director of development.

James Vanderbilt, who sold “Independence” to Baltimore/Spring Creek on the eve of his graduation from USC’s film school, is repped by manager Mikkel Bondesen and attorneys Joel McKuin and Jeff Frankel of Colden McKuin & Frankel.

Over the last two years, Bondesen has built a stable of young writers, including Ron Anderson, who is currently under contract at Disney.

(Claude Brodesser contributed to this report.)

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