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The First Sundance Film Sold Is ... Buried

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | January 25, 2010 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | January 25, 2010 |


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Ryan Reynolds' one-man indie flick, Buried, screened over the weekend, and the reception so far as I can tell has been fairly mixed, but in such a way that most of the film bloggers either love it or hate it. But among those who have loved it, you also have to take into account the Sundance mystique -- everything is twice as good as it should be in Park City. Conversely, bad movie are twice as bad, which is to say: Park City feeds its audiences subliminal superlatives during all screenings, so that when they come out, every movie is the best or worst movie they've ever seen. (And yes: I'm bitter I'm not there this year, fuck you very much).

Anyway, of all the reviews I've read of Buried, I'm probably more inclined to believe Vince over at FilmDrunk, who called it arthouse torture porn and gave it a D- (our sensibilities are well aligned, though he obviously expresses his in a different way). But, good or bad, Buried is probably the most talked about film of the festival so far, and talk has increased since it because the first movie sold at Sundance. Lionsgate purchased the distribution rights to it yesterday for a reported $3 to $4 million, which sounds low, but you also have to take into account the fact that 95 percent of the movies at Sundance will never gross more than $5 million at the box office (even if they are sold), and that $4 million isn't bad for a movie filmed exclusively inside a coffin -- I suspect the budget wasn't particularly high. Hell, the lines that the director Rodrigo Cortes and Ryan Reynolds delivered before the screening ought to be worth half a million, at least:

Cortes welcomed the crowd by saying, "If you like this film, then I want you to know I am the director. And if you don't, don't blame me because I didn't write this shit." Reynolds then told the audience, "I hope you love the movie as much as I hated making it.

In other purchasing news of note, 20th Century Fox gave Robert Rodriguez and company something like $9 million and a nice back-end deal to pick up the rights to Machete, the Danny Trejo film based on the fake trailer in Grindhouse. Fox beat out several other studios after it also gave Rodriguez a production deal.


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