Senator president Mark Urman made an initial offer after the film's world premiere here on Friday night and finally sealed the deal with CAA and William Morris at about 7pm on Saturday. Senator plans a fourth quarter release in time for an awards run.
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group will handle DVD and ancillary release per its deal struck with Senator last November under which it acquired domestic home entertainment and television distribution rights to Senator's entire US release slate.
Urman said the company would work with Training Day director Fuqua on a new cut of the film, replacing the hastily assembled temporary soundtrack and, crucially, changing a finale that is widely regarded as too problematic for mainstream audiences.
Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Don Cheadle star as conflicted and unconnected New York police officers whose fates dovetail in a crime-ridden inner city housing project. Urman said Hawke's performance in particular was 'Oscar worthy.' Wesley Snipes, Lili Taylor and Ellen Barkin also star.
Urman arrived in Park City with a full 2009 inaugural slate that will kick off in April with Sundance premiere The Informers [which gets its world premiere on January 22] and said there was no urgency to buy films. However, he was ready to acquire if the right film came along.
'We came into the festival and had identified this as the number one film on our wish list. We saw a film that was edgy and polished and Antoine wanted to know he wouldn't be in business with a distributor that wouldn't tell him to do this and that but would enable his film to be best appreciated,' he said. 'We've spent time talking to him about what we love about the film and now we move forward with taking it to the next stage.'
By the end of Saturday Humpday, The September Issue and Spread were all in play, with The Cove and I Love You Phillip Morris set to premiere on Sunday [January 18]. British newcomer Carey Mulligan drew widespread acclaim for her performance in The Greatest, which premiered on Saturday afternoon to mixed response.