Press Releases: 01/17/14
CNN FILMS and Lionsgate Pick Up ‘DINOSAUR 13’ on Opening Night of Sundance Film Festival
Film to broadcast on CNN/U.S. in second half of 2014, following theatrical exhibition
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.