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Last Official Deal of Sundance: ‘The Freebie’ Goes to Phase 4

Studio picks up North American rights to romantic comedy for mid-six figures

Phase 4 Films has picked up North American rights for "The Freebie," the company announced on Monday.

The romantic comedy premiered at Sundance last weekend and stars Dax Shepard and writer/director Katie Aselton.

Phase 4 spent in the mid six figures to acquire the movie, which was heavily sought after by at least four other studios, according to a source familiar with the bidding.

The deal closed on Sunday night at 11:55. Negotiations were conducted by Larry Greenberg, Phase 4 Films’ senior vice president of acquisitions and Josh Braun and Jason Janego from Submarine Entertainment.

Because the deal was hammered out five minutes before midnight (the witching hour), the company was able to tout the fact that the acquisition marked the last official deal of Sundance.

Phase 4 plans to release the movie next summer.

"’The Freebie’ is one of those rare Sundance movies that you know is destined to be a classic," Berry Meyerowitz president & CEO of Phase 4 Films said in a statement. "In her directorial debut, Katie Aselton has created an enchanting and refreshingly honest look at modern love that rivals Hollywood studio fare."

The movie on a young married couple whose sex life has stalled, who toy with the idea of allowing each other to seek out a one night stand as a way to spice things up. Reviews were mostly favorable with many commenting that Shepard, hitherto primarily known for low brow comedies, handled the film’s more serious moments gracefully.