In the first potential deal out of the ongoing fest, Heat Vision reports that Lionsgate is nearing a deal to acquire North American distribution rights to Cooties, the horror-comedy starring Elijah Wood (Maniac) that premiered Saturday at Sundance’s Park City at Midnight sidebar.
Cooties marks the debut feature of Wood and his SpectreVision production banner, which he runs with Daniel Noah and Josh Waller. It is also the debut movie of directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion.
“Cooties follows a struggling writer/substitute teacher whose first day at an elementary school sees him dealing with a virus that turns the kids into mindless killing cannibals. The teacher bands with the survivors — played by Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer and Leigh Whannell, among others — to figure out an escape from the school.”
Whannell, who is the writer behind the Saw and Insidious horror franchises, partnered with Ian Brennan, the co-creator of TV’s “Glee,” to write the script for the movie that had the midnight crowd in stitches when it premiered Saturday night.
In a nice bit of kismet, Cooties premiered exactly 10 years after the Sundance premiere of Whannell’s Saw, which Lionsgate bought and went on to become one of the biggest horror franchises in history.