Dimension up a scary ‘Creek’

Studio adopts 'Wolf' pre-preem

In a move straight out of Miramax Films’ old playbook, Dimension Films paid $3.5 million to buy Greg McLean’s horror pic, “Wolf Creek,” a month before its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

International sales agent Arclight Films notified the pic’s North American reps at William Morris Independent about Dimension’s offer on Dec. 22. The deal closed Christmas Eve.

The purchase includes North America, Latin America (excluding Brazil), Spain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Benelux.

With a scary plot ostensibly based on true events, “Wolf Creek” shares the fiscally appealing genre occupied by “Blair Witch” and last year’s “Open Water.” It’s the tale of three backpackers who head into the Australian outback and experience a terrifying journey after meeting a seemingly friendly stranger.

The film will bow Jan. 24 in Sundance’s world dramatic competition. Fest runs Jan. 20-30 in Park City, Utah.

Although big-ticket preemptive buys weren’t unusual in the go-go days of indie film, cooler heads have prevailed in the past decade. The deal is even more unusual in the face of an uncertain future for Miramax Films and Dimension as Disney continues to negotiate the contracts of Harvey and Bob Weinstein.

Arclight/Darclight Films and Mushroom Pictures distribute “Wolf Creek” in Australia. The Australian Film Finance Corp. financed the film.