In the first North American deal for a competition film here this year, Columbia Pictures has swooped on domestic rights to James Gray's We Own The Night in a record domestic sale for a competition film at Cannes believed to be around $11m.

The crime drama, which stars Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix, sold
after an intense day of bidding from at least eight parties following
the buyers' screening on Friday.

As the deal-making went down to the wire it is understood that
Columbia edged out a joint bid from fledgling domestic distributors
Summit Entertainment and Overture Films, and Lionsgate.

The dollar amount of the deal is extraordinary for a competition film.
Entries are typically arthouse fare that generate far lower asking
prices, while the more commercial competition films usually arrive
with a domestic distributor in place.

The next big buyer huddle will coalesce around Gus Van Sant's Paranoid
Park, which is being represented by WMi for domestic and MK2 for
international rights and receives its first screening on Monday at
8.30am. The film plays in competition next week.

2929 produced and financed We Own The Night, which was produced by
Marc Butan and Nick Wechsler. Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner served as
executive producers. Cinetic Media represented the film-makers in the

We Own The Night plays in competition on May 25. Columbia plans a
fourth quarter release.