SUNDANCE: Deals Struck for Docs and Star-Driven Pics Black Rock, The Words
A quick update on the flurry of Sundance deal-making of recent days, with well-received documentaries and less acclaimed but star-driven (read: marketable) narratives sitting pretty with distribution agreements. Will this be, as pundits predicted, a high-volume buying year in Park City?
This list will be updated as more films reach distribution deals this week at Sundance, where smaller hits (i.e. Beasts of the Southern Wild) and high profile pieces (Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, which screens tonight) have piqued buyer interest. The documentary field is especially strong so far, with Searching for Sugar Man, The Queen of Versailles, Kirby Dick's The Invisible War, and West of Memphis having already screened to warm responses, while a host of narratives featuring name actors have also shown promise.
Searching for Sugar Man (Sony Classics) – The documentary about 1960s musician Rodriguez played well to critics and was snatched up by SPC for a reported six figures.
The Queen of Versailles (Magnolia Pictures) – Another well-received doc, Lauren Greenfield’s examination of Florida real estate mogul David Siegel was picked up by Magnolia on Friday.
Black Rock (LD Distribution) – Katie Aselton’s thriller about three female friends (Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth) surviving a weekend getaway gone wrong was the first Midnight selection to seal a deal, partnering with newbie venture LD Distribution.
The Words (CBS Films) – Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, and Jeremy Irons lead a cast of recognizable stars in this literary drama about a writer (Cooper) who claims credit on someone else’s manuscript and is confronted by its real author, so it’s easy to see why buyers were interested. CBS Films reportedly made the most expensive buy of the fest so far, laying down $2 million for the film. Whether or not that move was smart remains to be seen, as this first review over at The Playlist is less than encouraging.
Get more of Movieline's Sundance coverage here.