| Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah Jan 27 Movie studios have been
searching for the next big thing at the Sundance Film Festival
after the critical and commercial success of indie films such as
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" with a slew of business deals
being made during the festival.
The biggest purchase came midway through the 10-day event
when Fox Searchlight paid about $10 million for quirky
coming-of-age comedy "The Way, Way Back", starring Steve Carell
and Toni Collette, according to sources close to the deal.
"The Way, Way Back" is the directorial debut of
Oscar-winning screenwriters Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who penned
last year's hit "The Descendants".
While eight-figure deals are rare at Sundance, Fox
Searchlight, a division of 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp
, is a regular big spender at the festival.
The studio dropped more than $10 million in 2006 for "Little
Miss Sunshine", another comedy starring Carell and Collette. The
film grossed more than $60 million at the U.S. box office.
After a quiet acquisition year at the 2012 Sundance
festival, RADiUS-TWC, the boutique multi-platform division of
The Weinstein Company, snapped up five films.
The company, headed by former Magnolia Pictures executives
Tom Quinn and Jason Janego, acquired the rights for music
documentary "Twenty Feet From Stardom", about the journey of
Quinn described the film as "amazing and exceptional."
RADiUS also picked up distribution rights for documentaries
"Cutie and the Boxer", which won best director for Zachary
Heinzerling at Saturday's Sundance Film Festival Awards, and
"Inequality for All".
The company also snapped up drama films "Concussion", which
follows the mid-life crisis of a wealthy lesbian, and
"Lovelace", based on the life of "Deep Throat" porn star Linda
Quinn said he and his fellow executives, including Harvey
Weinstein, bought the film in the lobby of the theater after the
film premiered on Tuesday. "Lovelace" sold for slightly more
than $3 million.
Parent company Weinstein Co acquired distribution rights for
drama film "Fruitvale", starring Octavia Spencer and Michael B.
Jordan. The film is based on the true story of Oakland native
Oscar Grant's last day before he was shot and killed by police
on New Year's Eve.
Directed by first-time filmmaker Ryan Coogler, 26, the film
was the big winner at Saturday's Sundance Film Festival awards,
landing both the grand jury and audience prizes in the U.S.
"I was completely amazed by this incredible film. This
earth-shattering story is one that needs to be told," Weinstein
said in a statement.
SEX AND THE BEAT GENERATION AMONG BIG SELLERS
A big theme running through the Sundance offerings this year
is the frank depiction of intimate relationships and sexuality.
"The festival was choreographed in a way that I've had a
cumulatively profound experience here, watching films from 'Don
Jon's Addiction' to 'Before Midnight'. These are films that are
exploring human interaction on a very concrete level," Quinn
"Don Jon's Addiction", the directorial debut from actor
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is a raunchy comedy of a young man
struggling to overcome his porn addiction to form a real
The film was picked up by Relativity Media for $4 million
for U.S. distribution rights, according to sources. Relativity
purchased the 2010 hit Sundance documentary "Catfish", which has
spawned a successful MTV television series.
Also popular among buyers was "Kill Your Darlings", a drama
starring Daniel Radcliffe about the origins of the Beat
Generation poets and the sexual coming-of-age of Allen Ginsberg,
tied in with a scandalous murder.
Sony Pictures Classics partner Tom Bernard said the film was
"surprising," and not just another Beat generation movie.
"It's a true story, the actors are great, I think the story
looks a little more timeless than a period piece," Bernard told
Sony Pictures Classics, a division of Sony Corp,
snapped up the title, along with comedy "Austenland" and romance
"Before Midnight", the third installment of Richard Linklater's
popular film series starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke.