A pair of films we have been rooting for have both been picked up for wide distribution at the Sundance Film Festival.
First up is the Ryan Reynolds thriller Buried which Lionsgate has shelled out an estimated $3.2 million for, more than the film’s $3 million budget. Like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, Reynolds will be the only actor in the film and he will spend the entire duration acting within a coffin buried in the ground. Armed with a lighter and cell phone, he must orchestrate raising $5 million for his captors else die a lonely death in the box.
The other film is Robert Rodriguez’s Machete which is based on the spoof trailer seen in the middle of Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse double-feature. According to Deadline Hollywood, six studios including Sony, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., Fox, Paramount, and The Weinstein Co. were all bidding on the film after having seen 15-30 minutes. Ultimately Fox won out and will pay approximately $9 million and around 10% of the gross back to Rodriguez.
The odd twist to this story is Weinstein, whom Rodriguez has worked closely with in the past, supposedly had first dibs on the film and turned it down at $3.5 million. Why would they do that when the film stars big names like Jessica Alba, Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert De Niro and Lindsay Lohan? An insider at Weinstein claims, “we saw the footage and it’s not very good at all.”
With Rodriguez’s Predators shooting for Fox and now Machete finding a home at the studio, it looks like Rodriguez is formally making a transition from Weinstein to a new more lucrative home. Can you blame him?