Focus Features has landedits second major acquisition in four days at Sundance, sealing worldwide rights to Rian Johnson's award-winning Brick, a neo-noir set in a contemporary US high school .
Buyers had been tracking the film all week but Focus's persistence finally won out hours before Brick went on to share a special jury prize at Saturday's awards' ceremony.
Universal's specialist division paid nearly $3m for the picture, aLynchian homage to the gumshoe genre that Focus will release domestically and sell to international buyers overseas. Joseph Gordon-Levittand Lukas Haas star in a drama whose characters speak in classic noir dialogue.
The American Dramatic Competition entry has been a sell-out all week. Before ascreening last Wednesday, festival director Geoff Gilmore told the audiencethat Johnson was the "finest" director at this year's festival.
"This film is one of the most dynamic directorial debuts we've seen in years," Focus co-president David Linde said."Rian's fresh, original approach to the genre will attract filmgoers worldwide."
Avy Eschenasy and Jason Resnick negotiated the deal for Focus with CineticMedia's John Sloss, who reportedly stuck to his guns on getting a decent price after some buyers baulked initially.
Focus previously acquired North American rights to Gaby Dellal's Sundance WorldDramatic Competition premiere On A Clear Day, starring Peter Mullan andBrenda Blethyn.