Todd Miller’s documentary Dinosaur 13 has roared out of the gate on the opening night of Sundance, picked up for North America by CNN Films and Lionsgate.
The film charts the action following paleontologist Peter Larson’s historic find of a nearly intact, 65-million year old fossilized skeleton of a T.Rex, nicknamed “Sue.” After the discovery, a “David and Goliath” battle of sorts ensued over the course of a decade as Larson and his team defended the rights to their discovery against myriad challengers, including competing paleontologists and museums.
The deal is the first domestic acquisition announced at the festival. Following its theatrical release in North America through Lionsgate the film will receive its North American broadcast premiere on CNN in the U.S. in the second half of 2014.
“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, in a statement. “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.”
The deal was brokered by Jason Constantine, Lionsgate’s president of acquisitions and coproductions, 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.