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JAN
23
3 YEARS

SUNDANCE: Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate Grab 'Margin Call' for Just Under $2 Million

Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Zachary Quinto, Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci star in J.C. Chandor's financial thriller.

A Margin Call has been issued, and investors have responded.

A supremely hot property since its first press and industry screening Friday morning, the financial-industry thriller has doubled its number of bidders over the ensuing 48 hours. But Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate have partnered to secure domestic distribution rights to the Premieres section film written and directed by J.C. Chandor for just under $2 million and a sizable P&A commitment. Lionsgate effectively bought the film, which Roadside plans to release in 2011.

Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Zachary Quinto, Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci star in the story of an investment firm on the brink of its own crisis just as the 2008 financial collapse is about to break. Though the official premiere of the film doesn’t take place until Tuesday night, the P&I screening was so packed with industry execs wanting a look that several could not gain entry. Ever since, the phones of Cassian Elwes and UTA's Rena Ronson – the sales reps on the film – have been chirping nonstop.

Myriad Pictures is repping international on the film, which was produced by Neal Dodson, Corey Moosa and Quinto of Before the Door Pictures, Michael Benaroya and Robert Ogden Barnum of Benaroya Pictures and Joe Jenckes. Elwes, Laura Rister, Randy Manis and Joshua Blum are executive producers.

Ultimately, six different distributors took runs at the property, with varying degrees of commitment. Roadside's Howard Cohen and Lionsgate's Steve Beeks negotiated the deal on their companies' behalf. Recently, the two companies jointly acquired the Robert Redford-directed The Conspirator and Dan Rush's Everything Must Go. Roadside also acquired rights to The Music Never Stopped just before the 2011 festival launched.

First-time filmmaker Chandor is a WME client who also has his international thriller script Portofino in development at Warner Bros. and Appian Way.

Meanwhile, a larger storm of sales is brewing. Whether it breaks within the hour or in the following weeks is hard to say, but the clouds are growing full to bursting with the bids of buyers looking to feed slates and capture the next breakthrough indie. The romantic drama Like Crazy was picked up by Paramount for $4 million just a few hours earlier.

Early screeners The Guard and Martha Marcy May Marlene are well in play, while Saturday premiere My Idiot Brother, which got the early evening slot at a packed Eccles Theatre, has generated largely positive response from audiences and buyers alike. The competition film The Ledge also has offers on the table. Several documentary premieres have fielded bids, as well, though no deal has yet closed.