Lionsgate nabs Sundance standout 'Push'

Director Lee Daniels signs with WMA

Lionsgate has acquired North American rights to "Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire," the inner-city drama that took both grand jury and audience prizes at the Sundance Film Festival.

The news comes as director Lee Daniels signs with William Morris and agent Charles King.

Fellow King client Tyler Perry will present "Push" via his new 34th Street Films banner; Oprah Winfrey will also present the title via her Harpo shingle. Both parties will support the release, according to Lionsgate.

The movie, which earned raves for both Mo'Nique and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, centers on an illiterate innter-city teen who is abused by her parents but gets a second chance when she enrolls in an alternative school. The Weinstein Co. was among the distributors circling the pic.

Damien Paul wrote the film, and Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness produced. Cinetic Media repped the filmmakers in the sale.

The movie marks the sophomore directing effort of Daniels, who is best known for producing 2001 Oscar winner "Monster's Ball," which Lionsgate also released.