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#Sundance: Weinsteins Buy Blue Valentine, Chase The Tillman Story

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 29, 2010 at 7:06AM

Harvey Weinstein, who has been ubiquitous at Sundance, has finally bagged a big catch: Derek Cianfrance's $5-million Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a married couple on the rocks. As Disney closed the doors Friday on the Weinsteins' old company Miramax (named after their parents), the newly invigorated TWC is also nearing a deal on Sundance doc fave The Tillman Story. TWC was also in the bidding for The Kids Are All Right, which went to Focus Features.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Harvey Weinstein, who has been ubiquitous at Sundance, has finally bagged a big catch: Derek Cianfrance's $5-million Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a married couple on the rocks. As Disney closed the doors Friday on the Weinsteins' old company Miramax (named after their parents), the newly invigorated TWC is also nearing a deal on Sundance doc fave The Tillman Story. TWC was also in the bidding for The Kids Are All Right, which went to Focus Features.

UPDATE: WME Global's Graham Taylor, producers Lynette Howell, Jason Patricof and Alex Orlovsky fielded offers Thursday night from Butch's on Main Street, then repaired back to their condo, where they conferred via phone with their financeer, 18-month-old Incentive Filmed Entertainment in New York and Harvey Weinstein in L.A., who pursued the project with the most passion, spending time on the phone with director Cianfrance. They closed the deal at 6 AM.

Perhaps Weinstein wanted to be in control of coordinating this film with another Gosling movie with good buzz, All Good Things. Weinstein promised to support an aggressive fall opening with an awards campaign for the actors. While Weinstein cited the film's two "incendiary" performances, Howell praised the veteran mogul's passion: "He's the king of it," she said. "Harvey's been through many incarnations, up and down, whatever he's doing, he's going to make it work. I don't see an independent film business without Harvey. He's a force of nature. We need him. "

In the end, TWC nabbed North American and Pan Asian rights in a low seven-figure deal, Howell confirmed. Other bids came in from IFC, Apparition, Oscilloscope and Fox Searchlight.

Here's indieWIRE, and a deal report from The Hollywood Reporter.

[indieWIRE Blue Valentine premiere photo by Brian Brooks]

This article is related to: Festivals, Independents, Sundance, Weinsteins


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.