With Sundance about to kick off this week, Screendaily has learned that Mark Cuban has turned down multiple bids for the distributor and remains open to a possible sale.
Magnolia, which belongs to the Wagner/Cuban Companies fold along with sales division Magnolia International, genre label Magnet Releasing and a home entertainment division, is expected to be one of the more active buyers on the prowl in Park City, just as it was last year.
However Cuban, who has declined several approaches for Magnolia and would not name the parties involved, needs no reminding of the distribution arm’s commercial appeal thanks to an increasingly prestigious and eclectic slate. The billionaire entrepreneur is keeping an eye out for potential bidders.
A source at the company recently claimed that 80% of titles went into profit thanks to a combination of targeted theatrical release and often day-and-date exposure on the Ultra VOD programme.
“We’ve always been up for sale, for the right price,” Cuban told Screendaily late last week. It is understood Landmark Theatres, the exhibition element in Cuban and Wagner’s vertically integrated empire, remains on the block. It is unclear if Cuban wants to divest himself of the cable networks HDNet and HDNet Movies.
Magnolia bought five films at the festival last year – Countdown To Zero, The Extra Man, Night Catches Us, Smash His Camera and Casino Jack And The United States Of Money – and has already stamped its mark on Sundance 2011.
Magnet recently pounced on Jason Eisener’s upcoming Park City At Midnight world premiere Hobo With A Shotgun after earlier acquiring rights to two other festival entries – Kim Jee-woon’s Korean thriller I Saw The Devil (pictured) and Norwegian director Andre Ovredal’s found-footage shocker The Troll Hunter.
The Scandinavian creature feature was a hot seller for Magnolia International at AFM last autumn and spurred deals in the UK (Momentum), Australia (Madman) and Japan (Twin), among others. Weeks before the AFM, Universal / UPI acquired a slew of rights from the producers that included France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Russia.
Magnolia’s prestige titles incude Luca Guadagnino’s Golden Globe foreign language nominee I Am Love, Gareth Edwards SXSW sensation Monsters, Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire hit Let The Right One In, Lynn Shelton’s Sundance 2009 crowd-pleaser Humpday and Bong Joon-Ho’s Korean one-two punch of The Host and Mother.