CNN FILMS and Lionsgate Pick Up ‘DINOSAUR 13’ on Opening Night of Sundance Film Festival
Park City, UT – CNN Films and Lionsgate announced today the acquisition of the North American rights to the film DINOSAUR 13, on the opening night of the Sundance Film Festival. DINOSAUR 13 is a documentary by filmmaker Todd Miller, who followed the odyssey of paleontologist Peter Larson of South Dakota’s Black Hills Institute of Geological Research after his history-making find: a nearly intact 65 million year-old fossilized skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex, they named “Sue.” The film will be released theatrically, with a North American broadcast premiere on CNN/U.S.
Two years after Larson’s team made the world’s greatest dinosaur discovery – the National Guard and FBI showed up. Larson and his team spent a decade engaged in an epic “David and Goliath” battle, defending their rights to the discovery – and, at times fighting for their own freedom – battling competing paleontologists, Native American tribal nations, and museums.
The Sundance Film Festival described Miller’s film as one made “with consummate skill.” Miller reveals the personalities behind the epic controversy over who owned the rights to Sue by “exposing human emotion in a dramatic tale that is as complex as it is fascinating.”
“As CNN Films passes the milestone of its first year, returning to Sundance underscores the strength of our commitment to bringing high quality documentary features to our platforms,” said Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide. “Our acquisition of DINOSAUR 13 is a great way for us to kick off the Festival this year, and we think our audience is going to love learning the incredible story of Sue.”
DINOSAUR 13 will be exhibited in theaters in 2014 via Lionsgate. CNN will broadcast the television premiere of the film later in the year.
“It’s a great honor to be partnered with CNN Films and Lionsgate,” said director Todd Miller. “Dinosaur Sue now has another incredible home!”
Lionsgate has released some of the most successful documentary films ever, including FARENHEIT 9/11, the highest-grossing documentary of all time, RELIGULOUS, GRIZZLY MAN, and in partnership with Roadside Attractions, the Oscar®-winning THE COVE.
CNN Films scored with the popular and critically-acclaimed BLACKFISH, acquired at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and broadcast exclusively by the network for television in October of last year. BLACKFISH was a strong ratings success for CNN, attracting more than 20 million total viewers to see the film on the network since its premiere.
Todd Miller has been making films and short-form content for more than a decade. His films include GAHANNA BILL and SCARING THE FISH. His work with shorts has won numerous international and national awards, including CINE Golden Eagle, Telly, Aurora, and AXIEM Awards.
The acquisition deal was negotiated by Jason Constantine, Lionsgate’s president of acquisitions and co-productions, along with Lionsgate’s Eda Kowan, Marc Danon, and Wendy Jaffe; and CNN’s Vinnie Malhotra and Stacey Wolf, and on behalf of the filmmakers Submarine’s Josh Braun and colleagues David Koh and Dan Braun. Legal counsel for the filmmakers is Evan Krauss of Gray Krauss Stratford Des Rochers LLP.
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales. Lionsgate currently has more than 30 television shows on 20 networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as the multiple Emmy Award-winning Mad Men and Nurse Jackie, the comedy Anger Management, the network series Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show and the critically-acclaimed new series Orange is the New Black.
Its feature film business has been fueled by such recent successes as the blockbuster first and second installments of THE HUNGER GAMES franchise, THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2, NOW YOU SEE ME, KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN, WARM BODIES, THE EXPENDABLES 2, THE POSSESSION, SINISTER, ARBITRAGE, MUD and Pantelion Films’ breakout hit INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.
Lionsgate’s home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 15,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company’s core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
About CNN Films and CNN Worldwide
CNN Films brings documentaries beyond the small screen by developing strategic partnerships to leverage distribution opportunities at film festivals and in theaters. Amy Entelis, senior vice president of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, and Vinnie Malhotra, senior vice president of development and acquisitions for CNN Worldwide, oversee the acquisition strategy of documentaries for CNN Films. Malhotra manages the day-to-day operation of CNN Films, and works directly with filmmakers to develop original projects.
CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Domestically, CNN reaches more individuals on television, the web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the United States; internationally, CNN is the most widely distributed news channel reaching more than 271 million households abroad; and CNN Digital is a top network for online news, mobile news and social media. Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with hundreds of local and international news organizations around the world. CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company. www.cnn.com/cnnfilms