Joel Silver And Dark Castle Buying Sundance Horror Hit Splice?

Most of the deals to come out of Sundance have been fairly small, from a monetary perspective. There's just not much cash in indies these days, so the glory days of massive buys at the fest seem to be gone for the time being.

And now along comes this reported deal for Vincenzo Natali's film Splice, which is all the more odd as the gene-warping creature feature certainly seemed like one of the more niche films at the fest. When the early films of David Cronenberg are regularly referenced by reviews that go on to insist that Splice gets more and more crazy, you don't think of a massive summer release. But that's what Joel Silver is reportedly planning.

I've been interested in this film since the first images were released almost a year ago (this is one early look) and now Deadline Hollywood reports that Joel Silver is really interested in it. According to DHD, he and Dark Castle are in the end stages of a deal to give Splice a 3000-screen summer release, with a P&A (print and advertising) commitment of at least $25m and perhaps as high as $40m. That's a lot of money for a movie like this. Will this be distributed via Warner Bros., with which Dark Castle is affiliated?

Here's how David Chen summarized the plot's early stages when he covered and reviewed the film from Sundance:

Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrien Brody) are a brilliant couple, biochemists who have figured out how to successfully combine different forms of animal DNA into a single creature. Their breakthroughs have many implications for the fields of science and health, but they have yet to crack the final frontier: an animal-human hybrid. When their superiors threaten to shut down their engineering project and put a stop to any further innovations, Elsa and Ed decide to take matters into their own hands.

He went on to say "I was expecting a standard-issue monster horror film. What I can state confidently is that Splice is definitely not that...Splice is less a horror film and more a quasi-serious exploration into the implications of playing God.

That as a summer release? Might be the best move Silver has made in years.