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Sundance 2011: Deal close for 'Margin Call' [Updated]

January 23, 2011 |  7:31 am

EXCLUSIVE: In what could be another big deal at the Sundance Film Festival, the producers of the Wall Street drama “Margin Call” have just concluded an all-night negotiating session with half a dozen buyers, with the winning bidder to be announced imminently.

The leading candidate is Lionsgate Films, which could release the film theatrically with its art-house partner, Roadside Attractions. The Lionsgate deal was being finalized early Sunday with the film's sales agents, Cassian Elwes and Rena Ronson of the United Talent Agency.

Executives at Lionsgate did not immediately return calls and e-mails seeking comment, nor did a spokesman for the film. [Updated, 8:14 a.m.: A person close to the negotiations said Lionsgate had closed the deal for $1 million. An announcement about the agreement is expected later Sunday.]

“Margin Call,” written and directed by J.C. Chandor, focuses on one tumultuous 24-hour period at a Wall Street firm after a math wizard ("Star Trek's" Zachary Quinto) finds out the company’s debt positions have left it technically insolvent. The film also stars Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Paul  Bettany, Stanley Tucci and Demi Moore.

Lionsgate has acquired any number of critical and commercial hits at Sundance, including "Precious," "Open Water" and "Saw."

In another prominent Sundance deal wrapped up early Sunday, Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush joined forces to buy the romantic drama "Like Crazy" for an estimated $4 million. The company outbid several other companies, including Fox Searchlight and the Weinstein Co.

-- John Horn

Photo: Zachary Quinto in "Margin Call." Credit: Sundance Film Festival