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Sundance: Lionsgate Gets ‘Cooties’

Acquisition marks the first narrative feature buy for the studio so far at the festival

UPDATED: Marking its first narrative Sundance acquisition, Lionsgate has acquired helmers Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s “Cooties.”

The horror-comedy ensemble led by Elijah Wood, who also produced the film, premiered Jan. 18 at midnight, drawing cheers and laughter from the audience. The film, which is one of the more commercial films of the festival (even with its share of detractors), takes place in an elementary school, where the students contract a strange virus that turns them into feral creatures.

Lionsgate has yet to solidify release plans.

Cooties” co-stars Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson, Leigh Whannell and Jack McBrayer. Pic was written by Ian Brennan and Whannell, who also wrote “Saw,” which coincidentally premiered at Sundance 10 years ago and was also distributed by Lionsgate.

“Leigh and Ian, along with all the filmmakers and cast of ‘Cooties,’ have created a project that we found ourselves laughing out loud throughout and we cannot wait to share it with moviegoers!” said Lionsgate prexy of acquistions and co-productions Jason Constantine, who negotiated the deal alongside Lionsgate’s Eda Kowan and Wendy Jaffe.

Ben Weiss of Paradigm brokered the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. Synchronicity Entertainment is handling overseas rights.

The distrib beat out a number of bidders, including Relativity, making “Cooties” the company’s second acquisition so far at Sundance. Lionsgate also acquired North American rights to docu “Dinosaur 13,” along with CNN Films.

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