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Sundance: Fox Searchlight Joins McDonagh’s ‘Calvary’

Fox Searchlight has acquired U.S. rights and select international rights to John Michael McDonagh’s dramedy “Calvary,” which premiered Jan. 19 at the Sundance Film Festival.

The deal, which was made for a reported $2.5 million, marks the second acquisition for Fox Searchlight in as many days. The distrib also bought worldwide rights to Mike Cahill’s sci-fi mystery “I Origins.”

Calvary” stars Brendan Gleeson as a good-natured priest whose world is put into disarray after being threatened during a confession. Pic co-stars Chris O’Dowd (“Bridesmaids”) and Kelly Reilly (“Flight”).

With “I Origins,” which Searchlight announced it also plans to launch this year, the company now has eight potential releases in 2014, including “Calvary,” the second feature for McDonagh, whose debut “The Guard” was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics at Sundance in 2011.

“We made a great film. In Fox Searchlight, we now have a great company behind us to send that film out into the world. Thank you, Sundance. Thank you, bourbon! Onward,” said McDonagh.

“Calvary” was exceptionally well received by festgoers, though the film’s bleak premise had buyers questioning its commercial potential.

Variety’s Justin Chang described “Calvary” as a “masterful follow-up” to McDonagh’s “The Guard,” adding that Gleeson gives “a performance of monumental soul.”

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