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Film Department, Overture, Apparition, Weinsteins Sell Sizzle In Tough Economy

by Anne Thompson
February 3, 2010 11:33 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

As Mark Gill and Neil Sacker's Film Department seeks new funding via an IPO, they're announcing that they're plunking down some of their remaining cash on a new script produced by Michael De Luca, the original action-comedy True Memoirs of an International Assassin, written by Jeff Morris. Why telegraph this news?

During trying times, many companies are using PR to signal to the industry that they are actively in the game.

Thompson on Hollywood

Timing is key. While he had long closed a deal, Apparition's Bob Berney waited until he was preparing to enter the Sundance buying fray before he alerted the indie film community that he had acquired all North American rights to The Square (the first feature from Australian stuntman-turned-director Nash Edgerton and actor/writer Joel Edgerton) for a planned April 9 opening (complete with Nash Edgerton’s internet hit short Spider). Similarly, Paramount reminded Indiewood of the still-extant Vantage label and its new low-budget film division by announcing the buy of Davis Guggenheim's education expose Waiting for Superman at the start of the fest.

During Sundance, as Overture was debuting Philip Seymour Hoffman's Jack Goes Boating amid reports that John Malone's Liberty Media might sell its parent co. Starz Media, Overture execs Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett said they were actively looking for acquisitions and floated scenarios that would have them exploring a purchase of Overture from Starz. That's a long way from becoming reality.

And not only did the Weinsteins give Michael Fleming news of an imminent financing deal as well as pending Sony video and foreign distribution pacts (neither of which have been announced), but at fest's end, Harvey Weinstein was not only acquiring Blue Valentine, but the hot doc The Tillman Story (that announcement UPDATE finally arrived Feb. 5 is yet to come). In other news, TWC was in the hunt to buy back their old Miramax library from Disney. I'm sure Harvey and his brother Bob would like to find $700 million for that purpose, but that's unlikely to happen, sad as it is.

Luckily for awards vets Berney and the Weinsteins, forward momentum favored them on Oscar nominations morning, with four and thirteen Oscar noms, respectively. That's real news.


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