US buyers were getting into full gear on Saturday afternoon (7) as Focus Features is understood to have paid in the region of $7m for worldwide rights to Jason Bateman’s feature directorial.

The Weinstein Company and Lionsgate were in pursuit after Friday night’s world premiere. According to acquisitions sources, bidding shot up to the $5m mark before Focus stepped up.

Focus plans a 2014 theatrical release for the Darko Entertainment/Aggregate Films/MXN production about a 40-year-old man in need of change who enters a National Spelling Bee contest and befriends a young contender.

Bad Words stars Bateman alongside Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Allison Janney, Ben Falcone, Rachael Harris and Philip Baker Hall.

Bateman produced through his company Aggregate with Mason Novick of MXN and Darko’s Sean McKittrick and Jeff Culotta.

Andrew Dodge wrote the original Black List screenplay. Focus struck the deal with CAA and Hicks Professional Law Corporation.

Early on Friday A24 closed the first on-site deal of the festival with what is believed to be a $1.25m North American buy on Locke.