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FilmDistrict takes a ‘Safety’ course

Ample theatrical planned for commercially friendly title

In its first and likely only pickup from Sundance, FilmDistrict has acquired U.S. right sto “Safety Not Guaranteed,” plotting a robust theatrical release for the sci-fi-tinged oddball comedy that marks the feature debuts of helmer Colin Trevorrow and scribe Derek Connolly.

Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass topline the Big Beach Films production, whose sale was repped by ICM and Cinetic. Deal included a seven-figure advance with a significant P&A agreement.

As Jeanney and Bob Berney are exiting FilmDistrict, the pickup was somewhat unexpected, though the distributor that unearthed the critics’ darling “Drive” couldn’t resist the Sundance Fest screenplay winner.

Like “Drive,” “Safety” tells the story of another loner — one who places a classified ad for a time-travel partner — and debuted Sunday in the U.S. dramatic competition. It was considered one of the more commercially skewing titles despite a lack of major movie stars.

Canadian rights were acquired by Canuck distribber Alliance.

Variety’s Justin Chang called it a “scrappy and romantic romp that serves up some nice soul-searching moments alongside a steady stream of laughs” and closes with an “unexpectedly exhilarating finale.”

ICM, which originally packaged the film, reps Trevorrow, Connolly, Mark & Jay Duplass and castmember Jeff Garlin.

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