Movie Talk

How Lohan’s ‘The Canyons’ sparked an indie bidding war

Movie Talk

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IFC Films

Just when you started thinking no one in Hollywood wanted anything to do with "The Canyons," it turns out the small budget film with the stacks of not-so-good press had several noted distributors eager to put it in theaters.

It was announced on February 15 that IFC Films had purchased distribution rights to "The Canyons," reportedly putting down $1 million for the picture (not a bad deal, since it reportedly cost only $250,000 to make). "The Canyons" is an updated noir thriller starring
party enthusiast Lindsay and adult film star James Deen; Paul Schrader, who scripted "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull," directed the movie from a screenplay by Bret Easton Ellis, author of the novel "American Psycho." The deal with IFC surprised some in the industry, who figured "The Canyons" was best left alone. A widely-publicized piece in the New York Times made the production of the film sound like a train wreck, and two of the nation's most prestigious independent film festivals, Sundance and South by Southwest, turned it down.

But according to a story in Hollywood Reporter, it seems two other noted indie distributors were turning negotiations for "The Canyons" into a small scale bidding war. RADiUS, a multi-platform distribution company that's a subsidiary of the Weinstein Company, were keen to buy "The Canyons," as was Magnolia Pictures, a small distributor who has
enjoyed art house success with "Marley," "Melancholia," and "Take This Waltz." Ted Hope of the San Francisco Film Society was also interested in snapping up rights to the film and distributing it himself, but in the end, the negotiations, taking place over several weeks, narrowed down to IFC and RADiUS, and when RADiUS insisted on the right to re-edit the film, IFC walked away the winners.

While IFC has "The Canyons," they haven't announced when it will be opening in theaters. But if they're looking for signs that people are interested in it, here's a good one: Vivid Entertainment, America's most successful adult film studio, have reached out to James Deen and invited him to star in a XXX parody of "The Canyons," playing the same role he played in Schrader's movie and substituting the film's soft-core sex scenes for the real thing. Presumably Lindsay Lohan has not been asked to participate.

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