Sundance 2010: Splice Object of Service Deal Bidding Battle

There’s a battle occurring for distribution rights to Vincenzo Natali’s Splice at this year’s Sundance film fest, but instead of acquisitions bidding in ever-escalating sums, the producers are being offered service contracts, which seems to be the trend in indie film distribution nowadays.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, under the service model, producers pay distributors an upfront fee and a percentage of box-office — in many cases, that also covers the distributor’s outlays for marketing and distribution. The upside is that they retain rights and future profits on the movie; the downside is they take on much greater financial risk. And new variations on the model are cropping up all the time, sometimes with distributors buying only partial rights.

Freestyle Releasing has built a business out of offering service deals, and new outfits like Mark Urman’s Paladin, built around the same model, are popping up.

Toward the end of the bidding on Tuesday, it seemed like Apparition, the Weinstein Co., Newmarket Films, First Look Studios, and Samuel Goldwyn Films were all in the running to acquire this sci-fi thriller.

Sundance 2010: Splice Object of Service Deal Bidding Battle

Which contract will win? Tune in here, fiends, to see how it all turns out.

Heather Buckley

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Heather Buckley

  • Sirand

    Sad thing is, I respected Murphy after reading Jane Hamsher’s KILLER INSTINCT. Boy, did that all come crashing down the second I saw the man’s childish internet posts.

    This whole insanity has actually tainted my excitement for SPLICE, which was until now my most anticipated movie this year. I only hope Natali (whom I consider one of the only original filmmakers working today) is a better human being than some of the people representing his film – or what’s left of it, if the troubled rumors are true.

  • RingoJ

    Who the fuck is this “Don Murphy” guy?

    • Pestilence

      Producer on a few movies. I won’t link directly, but Google his name and you’ll find a few websites containing various examples of his email correspondance. The guy is very proud of being an outspoken jackass, so much so that it almost embodies the superlative cigar-chomping ass-ripping Hollywood exec persona.

    • Mon Durphy

      Here’s a corrected fact for the article: SPLICE wasn’t debuted at Sundance 2010. It actually played at least one genre festival last year, maybe even more (you’d have to double-check though as I could be wrong here).

      I think the fact that SPLICE wasn’t picked up at that European fest, or to even get accepted at the Toronto Film Festival last year, might be a sign of how lackluster this new Natali might be. So it kind of makes sense that the producers would unleash THE Don Murphy to throw virtual insults at the people (who love horror & the film’s actual core audience) who are reporting any dissenting opinion for the movie.

      And let’s face facts here, the movie’s sounds like it’s going straight-to-DVD.

      • Don Murphy

        Aunt Creepy must you keep creating false accounts to attack me? You are such a hideous moron that you don’t even know how things work. I would NEVER allow the film to play at Toronto because the programmer of midnight madness is a loser just like you. No one unleashed me- I saw Auntie doing what she does and decided it ends here. If I can cut them off from even a third of the genre releases, and with who I know I probably can, then bye bye losers.

        • Terminal

          I’m not condoning Don’s behavior but I must agree, the whole Dong Smurphy, Mon Durphy jokes are pretty lame and ridiculous. One minute we’re insisting not to feed the troll and then the next minute someone is signing up with these accounts to attack Murphy back. At least come up with better names or something. I rolled my eyes when I saw the names.

          Someone should really just put a stop to all of it instead of making this in to a further spectacle. I’m all for mocking trolls but mocking them with jokes that are actually funny.

          Mocking someone’s name is akin to a five year old calling someone poopy face.

          • Don Murphy

            Terminal, the reason why no one puts a stop to it is because THEY are the ones doing it. You should see what Deb and Steve have sent me via personal email. Shocking.

          • The Woman In Black

            Oh, really? How about providing some evidence of this? I don’t have, nor do I want, your email address.

          • Floydian Trip

            This all got old quick but is still nonetheless astounding. Don destroyed any and all credibility he had with his first comment. This movie is tainted now to me with everything that has gone on. First he’s going to arrange so that I cannot watch this movie and now he’s going to influence an entire genre worth of filmmakers against DC. Talk about delusions of grandeur, what a joke. If anyone actually cared about this guy he’d be involved with movies that were worth talking about. Clearly, he’s not good at his job which is obvious as I was always under the impression that a producer’s job was to help the movie succeed.

          • Terminal

            I’m still going to see the movie. If I stopped watching movies because of Dickheads I’d never see another Mel Gibson, Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, or James Cameron movie again.

            But seriously, whoever is convinced that Dong Smurphy or Mon Durphy jokes are funny really needs a talking to. Just quit it, shit.

          • Floydian Trip

            I’m still imagining the real Don Murphy to be off concerning himself with matters of importance and not trolling a website and acting like a child, an ignorant child.

            If this is, in fact, the Executive Producer of this movie, Don Murphy then Dread Central must be pretty important to him.

            Will the real Don Murphy please stand up.

          • Terminal

            I’ve seen this shit before back in Film Threat. There was a director for these bad indie movies and he did exactly what we see here. He antagonized the writers, proclaimed his films were amazing, argued with everyone, and even signed up with two separate accounts arguing with himself. It was ridiculous but it brought attention to his movies. I wonder if this is what’s happening here.

          • Floydian Trip

            I’m not used to this sort of thing. Honestly, I’ve never been interested in this movie. The creature designs look beautiful and I can totally see the Giger influence but I’m more interested in the artist than seeing this movie. This sounds and looks like just another DTV POS to me. Always has. Not worth the time, money or celluloid. I could be wrong.

  • The Woman In Black

    Don, you’re certainly free to comment as much as you’d like, but calling a woman you’ve never even met “ugly” is really petty and immature and pretty much invalidates anything you have to say.

    And since she sourced the story to THR, are they also wrong and lying about the film for some unknown reason?

    • Don Murphy

      Have you been to her myspace page. Because I do not have to meet someone to know they are ugly. And I don’t need to read sources to know that anything you people print is BULLSHIT.

      • Uncle Creepy

        Don’t you know WIB? The other sites reporting the same story are all lying! We’re all in cahoots to get him! Including the Hollywood Reporter!

        • Don Murphy

          Aunt Creepy

          Please curb your masturbatory imagination. Here is what I said “Whatever Ugly Heather wrote above is a lie. Which is what I expect from this site”

          THIS IS THE TRUTH.

          I don’t care if you read it 100 times and mommy told you it in your ear while serving you your cream of wheat sandwich this morning.

          This article is a lie. As to be expected.

          • Terminal

            Don’t knock Cream of Wheat sandwiches. They’re quite great.

    • Heather Buckley

      Hey Deb! I found the article while checking out the google ranking of the I posted before. It states that people wanted the film, but they were trying to acquire it in a different way which is typical to independents. If this is incorrect the issue should be brought up with THR.

      • Cash Bailey

        Heather, you know how little boys, when they like a girl the only way they can really express it is to pull her pigtails and run away?

        Well… I think Don Murphy may be in love with you.

  • Don Murphy

    Everything this ugly chick just wrote is wrong and a lie.

    Don Murphy, EP, Splice

    • Pestilence

      Why not go post a “bullshit” comment on THR, Don? Maybe you could insult Gregg Goldstein while you’re at it?

      • Don Murphy

        Pesty the teste

        There I just did it. Did it make you feel better wittle boy?

        • Pestilence

          Not quite enough vitriol to completely fulfill me (ooh, matron!), but good enough. Thanks, Don.