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SUNDANCE: Fox Searchlight Buys Worldwide Rights to 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' for Under $2 Million

Sean Durkin's dark drama features a breakout performance from newcomer Elizabeth Olsen.

Martha Marcy
Drew Innis

In its second purchase of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Fox Searchlight has nabbed worldwide rights to Sean Durkin's dark drama Martha Marcy May Marlene. The Fox indie shop, which paid between $1.5 and $2 million for the film, plans a release this year.

Elizabeth OlsenSarah PaulsonJohn Hawkes and Hugh Dancy star in the story of a young woman struggling to re-acclimate to regular life after fleeing a cult. Christopher Abbott, Brady Corbet, Louisa Krause, Julia Garner and Maria Dizzia are also in the cast. The U.S. competition film had its world premiere Friday afternoon at the Eccles Theatre.

Josh Mond, Antonio Campos, Chris Maybach and Patrick Cunningham produced. Ted Hope, Matt Palmieri, Saerom Kim, Saemi Kim and Alexander Schepsman are executive producers, with Andrew Corkin as co-producer.

“We were all captivated by the compelling performances and the expert craftsmanship of Sean Durkin,” said Searchlight presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula. “We are excited to bring this gripping drama to audiences everywhere.”

UTA Independent Film Group's sales team, which is having a killer run so far, negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers with Searchlight execs Tony Safford, Megan O’Brien and Ray Strache.

Searchlight grabbed worldwide rights to the high school comedy Homework Sunday night for more than $3 million.