According to The Hollywood Reporter, as the Sundance Film Festival wound to a close, Focus Features acquired worldwide rights to first-time director Rian Johnson's Brick, a hard-boiled mystery set in a high school. The deal is valued at $2 million.

"This film is one of the most dynamic directorial debuts we've seen in years. Rian's fresh, original approach to the genre will attract filmgoers worldwide," said David Linde, co-president, Focus Features. At Sundance, finding the right match between movie and distributor can be a tricky business.

The film premiered Friday to audience applause and critical admiration. After its first screening, John C. Reilly and Tobey Maguire congratulated 31-year-old rookie filmmaker Johnson. But to Cinetic Media seller John Sloss' surprise, the competition movie did not instantly ignite a heated bidding war.

Over the course of the week, Sloss fielded multiple offers, including one from Sony Pictures Classics, sought support from members of the press and waited until after the last screening Thursday to finally close a deal with Focus execs Avy Eschenasy and Jason Resnick.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.