EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that CBS Films is closing the first 7-figure deal of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, paying a minimum guarantee of around $2 million with a $1.5 million P&A commitment for The Words. The Brian Klugman/Lee Sternthal-directed drama stars Bradley Cooper as a struggling writer who discovers a lost manuscript, claims it as his own and becomes a literary sensation. All good until a man claiming to be the real writer (Jeremy Irons) shows up at his doorstep.
Bidding went through the evening, and I heard that Mickey Liddell’s new distribution company LD Entertainment and Lionsgate were among those in the mix. While The Words is the festival’s closing-night film, sellers set up a private screening Saturday morning at the Holiday III. Reaction was strong and distributors began circling right away. The film has the perfect elements that make it catnip for distributors looking for films that have a shot at a real theatrical release: Cooper is hot, after The Hangover Part II and Limitless, and starring as Lucifer later this year in the Alex Proyas-directed big-scale adaptation of the Milton poem Paradise Lost. Besides Irons, the cast includes Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Zoe Saldana and Ben Barnes. The film was repped by CAA and Cassian Elwes, with CBS exec Scott Shooman. Parlay Films is handling foreign sales and is almost done. (more…)