Scenic Route Vertical EntertainmentEXCLUSIVE: It didn’t take long for Vertical Entertainment to score at Cannes. The newbie indie distributor snapped up U.S. rights to Scenic Route, starring Josh Duhamel (Safe Haven, Transformers) and Dan Fogler (Balls Of Fury, Kung Fu Panda) as road-tripping buddies whose friendship is tested when they’re stranded in the desert. Co-helmers Kevin and Michael Goetz directed from a screenplay by Kyle Killen (The Beaver). The pic first premiered at SXSW. Vertical is planning an August theatrical bow, supplemented by digital/VOD and home video releases. The pick-up aligns with Vertical’s strategy to acquire and release a yearly slate of two dozen $5M-10M genre and family films anchored by name stars.

Scenic Route is produced by Brion Hambel and Paul Jensen of Best Medicine Productions, Anonymous Content’s Luke Rivett, and Scott Freeman. Duhamel, Keith Redmon, and Paul Green exec produced. Vertical’s Peter Jarowey negotiated the deal with Weintraub Tobin’s Matthew Sugarman repping the filmmakers. Premiere Entertainment is repping international sales at Cannes.

Vertical, launched last week by Rich Goldberg and Mitch Budin, unveils its first acquisitions this month and next: Rushlights with Josh Henderson, Beau Bridges and Aidan Quinn (June 21), and Hot Flashes starring Brooke Shields, Wanda Sykes, Virginia Madsen, Daryl Hannah, and Camryn Manheim (July 12).