EXCLUSIVE: After another all night bare-knuckle bidding brawl, Open Road is closing a deal for Bleed For This, the Ben Younger-directed film that stars Miles Teller as world champion fighter Vinny Pazienza and Aaron Eckhart as the trainer who helped Pazienza come back to the ring after a near fatal car crash left him with a broken neck. The deal is for $4 million and the bidding started shortly after buyers were shown a 12-minute promo reel Friday night for a film that is now in post-production. There is no set release plan, but this comeback story has big time awards season and commercial potential. I don’t think Open Road had the highest bid, as there were several others by upstart companies, but the distributor seems a strong home for the film and certainly proved itself with last year’s Cannes acquisitionNightcrawler. Buyer interest was intense here, and I believe six bids came in, and four distributors went down to the wire, including Amazon Studios, the newcomer which made a strong play for the property, and willing to pay a premium and facilitate a theatrical release to get it. Ultimately, the dealmakers at CAA and WME Global, liked the fit with Open Road.
Open Road, led by Tom Ortenberg and Peter Lawson, comes away from the festival with a substantial film for its release calendar. They came away smiling last year after acquiring in a similar fashion Nightcrawler, the Dan Gilroy-directed drama that starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. That film grossed $32 million domestic, making it a sleeper awards season hit that is exactly the result you hope for when you spend mid-seven figures on these festival films.
Where it fits in the release calendar is the question, because the year is crowded with boxing films. The first one out is the Gyllenhaal-starrer Southpaw that Antoine Fuqua directed and which The Weinstein Company will release July 24. Then there isCreed, the Rocky spinoff that Fruitvale Station‘s Ryan Coogler directed with Michael B. Jordan playing Apollo Creed’s grandson, and Sylvester Stallone reprises Rocky Balboa. That MGM/Warner Bros film will be released November 25 by Warner Bros. TWC started this festival with a deal for Hands Of Stone, the Roberto Duran film that stars Edgar Ramirez and Robert De Niro.
The Solution Entertainment Group is selling foreign on Bleed For This, with partners Lisa Wilson and Myles Nestel exec producing.