‘Dual’: RLJE Films Prevails In Bidding War To Acquire Sundance Sci-Fi Thriller Starring Karen Gillan And Aaron Paul

RLJE Films last night acquired U.S. rights to Riley Stearns’ thriller Dual in a competitive bidding situation, striking a low-mid seven figure deal for the film, which recently premiered in U.S. Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival.

XYZ Films, CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group closed the deal with RLJE Films, with the former company also handling world rights outside of the U.S. The film is slated for release in theaters this year.

Dual centers on Sarah (Karen Gillan), a woman who, upon receiving a terminal diagnosis, opts for a cloning procedure to ease her loss on her friends and family. When she makes a sudden and miraculous recovery, her attempts to have her clone decommissioned fail and lead to a court-mandated duel to the death.

Aaron Paul and Beulah Koale also star in the film produced by Stearns, XYZ and Resolute Films and Entertainment. Film Service Finland provided production services, with XYZ financing it through its fund backed by Helsinki-based IPR.VC in collaboration with Bondit Media Capital and Head Gear Films. The film also received support from Business Finland and Film Tampere and marked the first Hollywood production to shoot entirely in Finland.

XYZ Films and RLJE Films previously collaborated on the theatrical release for Panos Cosmatos’ Sundance genre-bender Mandy, starring Nicolas Cage. Dual also marks the latest in a partnership between XYZ, Lee Kim and his Resolute Films and Entertainment, which just entered into a first-look deal with the company.

“DUAL was a film we were targeting from the beginning of the Sundance Film Festival and it exceeded our expectations,” said RLJE Films’ Chief Acquisition Officer, Mark Ward. “We are happy to be working with our partners at XYZ Films yet again and can’t wait to release the film later this year.”

“Shooting DUAL with XYZ during a global pandemic will forever be an experience I look back on with a tremendous amount of pride,” added Stearns. “I’m beyond thrilled to enter the next stage of this journey with the team at RLJE Films and I can’t wait for audiences to see a film which we all deeply care for.”

RLJE Films is a business unit of AMC Networks. Its recent and upcoming features include David Oyelowo’s directorial debut The Water Man; Amber Sealey’s No Man of God starring Elijah Wood and Luke Kirby; Sion Sono’s 2021 Sundance Film Festival premiere Prisoners of the Ghostland starring Nicolas Cage and Sofia Boutella; and the apocalyptic holiday dramedy Silent Night from writer-director Camille Griffin, which stars Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Roman Griffin Davis.

XYZ Films’ titles include The Raid franchise, 2017 Sundance winner I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore and Mandy. Recent productions from the company include Joe Penna’s sci-fi thriller Stowaway, starring Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette, and Gareth Evans’ action thriller Havoc, starring Tom Hardy and Forest Whitaker.  Its 2022 Sundance slate also includes management client Carlota Pereda’s feature directorial debut Piggy and Something in the Dirt from management clients Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead.

Stearns is repped at CAA and Grandview.

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