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Daily film news briefs: Best Film award tie, Sundance deals made

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Here's a brief roundup of the major stories in film news for Monday, Jan. 20, 2014:

Producers Guild Awards picks two films as 'Best Film' -- For the first time in the 25-year-history of the Producers Guild Awards, the best Theatrical Motion Picture category ended in a tie between two films. '12 Years a Slave' and 'Gravity' -- considered the top contenders for the Best Picture Academy Award -- share the Best Film award from the Producer Guild ... which only muddies the water for anyone trying to predict 'Best Picture' at the Oscars. ... For anyone keeping track, '12 Years a Slave' has won the equivalent of the Best Picture award at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and from various Film Critics Awards in Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Florida, Gotham Awards, Las Vegas, Online Film Critics, Phoenix, San Francisco ... meanwhile, 'Gravity' has won the same award from Australia Film Institute and film critics in Central Ohio and Los Angeles (tie with 'Her').

Distributions deals inked for indie flicks at Sundance -- Variety reports Fox Searchlight will own the worldwide distribution rights to the sci-fi flick 'I Origins,' the followup film from director Mike Cahill ('Another Earth') ... according to the Hollywood Reporter, Focus Features has closed a deal for Zach Braff's Kickstarter-funded film 'Wish I Was Here' ... Sony Picture Classics has inked a deal for international distribution for Sundance's opening night film, 'Whiplash' ... IndieWire reports A24 will release 'Laggies,' the latest film from director Lynn Shelton ('Touchy Feely,' 'My Sisiter's Sister') ... the Los Angeles Times reports CNN Films and Lionsgate have picked up 'Dinosaur 13'.

'Ride Along' could set new January box office debut record -- The Ice Cube-Kevin Hart comedy 'Ride Along' is set to become the biggest film opening in January ever. The-Numbers reports 'Ride Along' pulled in an estimated $41.2 million in its opening weekend - a number which, if the estimate holds true, would narrowly pass the $40 million opening weekend for 'Cloverfield' as the biggest film opening in January. ... That said, 'Avatar' still owns the three best box office weekends in January ever.


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