EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has kicked off Cannes by acquiring the US rights to Genius, the Michael Grandage-directed film that stars Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, Guy Pearce and Dominic West. The U.S. deal was just shy of $4 million. It was completed yesterday after buyers, including Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, were shown the film for the first time late last week by CAA, which brokered the deal for the Oscar-bait film.

Grandage, the Tony-winning director whose stage credits include Frost/Nixon, directed John Logan’s adaptation of the A. Scott Berg book Max Perkins: Editor of a Genius. Genius tells the story of a life changing friendship that developed between literary lion Thomas Wolfe (Law) and Perkins (Firth), the respected literary editor. The film was produced by James Bierman, Grandage and Logan. Deepak Nayar, Nik Bower, James J. Bagley, Berg, Tim Bevan, Steve Christian, Ivan Dunleavy and Arielle Tepper Madover are the exec producers. The financing came from Riverstone Pictures and Pinewood Pictures. Lionsgate’s Jason Constantine and Eda Kowan are overseeing the project, and FilmNation is handling international.