Sundance Buys: Newmarket Takes Hesher; Weinsteins Pick up Blue Valentine; The Kids Are Alright and Twelve Picked Up As Well
Posted on Friday, January 29th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
UPDATE: Just after I published this, The Weinstein Company was announced as the distributor for Blue Valentine, the drama starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. The film has been one of the critical hits of the fest, but I’ve got to wonder what TWC will be able to do with it. The company is struggling, and I don’t have much faith in its ability to give the movie a proper release. Check Peter’s video review of Blue Valentine here. Original article follows.
Right at the beginning of this year’s Sundance there were a couple of big deals made. The doc Waiting for Superman was bought by Paramount and Buried, starring Ryan Reynolds, was picked up by Lionsgate. (Read Peter’s review.)As the festival winds down there have been a couple other big buys. Hesher is the most notable, with the Joseph Gordon-Levitt starring film going to Newmarket. The very well-received The Kids Are Alright has also found a home, and while Joel Schumacher‘s Twelve isn’t the best-reviewed film at the fest, it’s got a deal now, too.
Deadline Hollywood reported that Newmarket bought into Hesher for around $1 million, with the deal-clincher being a screening in Salt Lake City that proved that a regular (i.e. non-festival) audience would respond to the film. No details yet on how and when Newmarket will get the film out to audiences. The distributor is also reportedly high in the running to close a deal for Splice. (Read Peter’s review.)
The Kids Are Alright, the new film from Laurel Canyon director Lisa Cholodenko, has been doing quite well, and Focus Features picked it up for nearly $5m. The family drama, featuring Julianne Moore and Anette Benning as as lesbian couple whose children want to reunite with their biological father (Mark Ruffalo) was shot quickly, but evidently hits all the right notes for a family drama. It’s the biggest sale of the fest so far.
Twelve, the latest film from Joel Schumacher that is already topping worst-of Sundance polls, was bought by Hannover House for $2 million. Hannover House? Yeah, I have no idea either. Movieline notes that the outfit has released Teen Yoga and Zombie Farm in the past. Peter didn’t like the film much, but with the long arm of Hannover House behind it, I’m not sure Twelve is something most of us will get a chance to experience (or avoid) before it hits DVD.
Finally, Deadline Hollywood is also reporting that The Tillman Story is close to a distribution deal with The Weinstein Company emerging as the likely winner. Really? Who would take a chance with the beleaguered Weinsteins right now? The “low-seven figure” deal is reportedly set to position the film near Oscar time later this year. Check out David’s review and interview with the director.