Lionsgate Wins Buried Bidding War, Fox To Distribute Machete

Lionsgate has made the first major purchase of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, winning a bidding war to acquire domestic distribution rights to Ryan Reynolds one-man thriller Buried.

For those of you who haven't been following the project, the film tells the story of a private contractor who is kidnapped in Iraq and buried alive. He has 90 minutes of air left until he dies, and has access to only a phone and a lighter. The entire movie takes place in the coffin, with Reynolds providing the only on screen performance.

I attended the film's premiere last night at the Library and was blown away (you can read my review here). The film played so well to the midnight crowd that it sparked a bidding war overnight, which Lionsgate appears to have won.

I'm not a huge fan of the way Lionsgate markets and distributes movies, outside of the SAW flicks which always seem to have interesting and visually arresting posters. I'm been very critical of their handling of Kick-Ass thus far. Paramount Pictures was able to turn Paranormal Activity into a word-of-mouth viral blockbuster, and Buried has the same potential if positioned right.

Meanwhile, in Hollywood, 20th Century Fox has won the rights to distribute Robert Rodriguez's Machete, the feature length adaptation of the fake trailer created for Grindhouse. Fox supposedly won out over five other studios. I think most people expected Fox to distribute the film, especially after Rodriguez' Troublemaker Films signed a pact with the company last year.

sources: Variety / DHD