In a deal that ends the largest bidding war of Sundance so far this year, Relativity Media has acquired U.S. rights to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut “Don Jon’s Addiction” and is planning a wide theatrical release later this year, though no release date has been set.
Insiders say the deal was agreed upon in principle early Monday after negotiations that carried on until 5 a.m. Final terms were not immediately disclosed, but sources close to the talks said Relativity is paying around $4 million and is committed to a big theatrical push with a P&A spend in the $25 million range.
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CAA and WME headed into Sundance intending to close a deal on “Don Jon’s Addiction” today, and bidding action heated up after a few days of loud buzz that followed the film’s Friday premiere at a packed Eccles Theater. Relativity came in with the most aggressive offer on the adult-themed pic, though CBS Films and Lionsgate/Roadside stayed in the hunt to the end with platform-release plans that were said to be similar in size. The Weinstein Co. made an early offer in the $2 million range that was turned down, but reportedly stayed in the mix until late in the game.
Before the fest began, Relativity had made no indications it would be active at Sundance, where it had acquired the documentary “Catfish” in 2010. Prexy Tucker Tooley was in Park City for the premiere of “Don Jon’s,” and the purchase of pic could put he and Relativity topper Ryan Kavanaugh in position to do long-term business with the young thesp and filmmaker.
Gordon-Levitt stars as a porn-obsessed New Jersey bartender whose addiction stands in the way of having a meaningful relationship with a woman played by Scarlett Johansson. Julianne Moore co-stars as a classmate who teaches him about the importance of intimacy. Pic co-stars Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Brie Larson, Rob Brown and Jeremy Luc.
Gordon-Levitt’s longtime collaborator Ram Bergman (“Looper”) produced with the helmer’s HitRecord Films banner, and the film was exec produced by Nicolas Chartier of Voltage Pictures, which is handling international sales.
“I always intended this to be a movie for a mass popular audience. Everyone told me it was a long shot. Now Relativity is making it happen. Tucker and Robbie (Brenner, president of production) told me they believe that, more than anything, audiences want something unique. I couldn’t agree with them more. I admire them for putting their money where their mouth is. And I couldn’t possibly be more grateful,” said Gordon-Levitt.
Deal was brokered by Gordon-Levitt’s agency WME and CAA, which packaged the film when he was a client there.