'The Freebie' picked up by Phase 4

Sundance title stars Katie Aselton, Dax Shepard

Writer-director Katie Aselton has scored.

Her Sundance entry "The Freebie," which was showcased in the low-budget Next section during this year's festival, has been acquired for North American distribution by Phase 4 Films. Four companies were ultimately engaged in the bidding, with Phase 4 closing the deal late Sunday night for mid-six figures.

The company plans a summer theatrical release.

Aselton's comedy, in which she stars with Dax Shepard, follows what happens when a sexually stalled couple decides to try something new: Each of them gets one night of guilt-free sex with someone outside the marriage.

Adele Romanski produced. Writer-director Mark Duplass, whose new comedy "Cyrus" also screened at the festival, is an executive producer on the film along with Aselton.

The deal was negotiated by Phase 4 Films' senior vp acquisitions Larry Greenberg, with Josh Braun and Jason Janego from Submarine Entertainment repping the filmmakers.

" 'The Freebie' is one of those rare Sundance movies that you know is destined to be a classic," said Berry Meyerowitz, president & CEO of Phase 4. "In her directorial debut, Katie Aselton has created an enchanting and refreshingly honest look at modern love that rivals Hollywood studio fare."

The festival officially ended Sunday, but several more acquisitions are expected to close in the coming weeks.

Aselton, who is repped by ICM and Untitled Entertainment, stars in the FX series "The League" and has appeared in the Duplass features "The Puffy Chair" and "Cyrus."

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In 2009, Phase 4 released Kari Skogland's "Fifty Dead Men Walking" and Matt Tyrnauer's "Valentino: The Last Emperor" on DVD and in Canadian theaters. The company recently acquired U.S. rights to the Brigitte Berman documentary "Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel," which it plans to release in the late spring.