Sundance 2013: The deal report

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Image Credit: Claire Folger; Thomas Kloss

Yes, the Sundance Film Festival is a temple to the glory of independent film and the purity of the art of cinema and blah blah blah. But it is also a vital marketplace for indie distributors to find the next blockbuster Little Miss Sunshine, or acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild, or wildly overpriced Happy, Texas. With the festival drawing to a close, Sundance 2013 has already proven to be one of the biggest deal-making festivals in recent memory, producing several major sales of movies that will either go on to become some of the buzziest films of the year, or, you know… not. We’ll update this space with additional deal reports throughout the week ahead. Here are the highlights so far:

FEATURE FILMS:

We Are What We Are, a horror film about a seemingly average Catskills family with odd culinary tastes, was acquired by Entertainment One and will play in U.S. theaters later this year. [EW]

Mother of George, which stars The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira as a Brooklyn-based Nigerian wife willing to do anything to save her new marriage, made a deal with Oscilloscope Laboratories for its North American rights. [EW]

Prince Avalanche, David Gordon Green’s offbeat comedy starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as Texas traffic-line painters,went to Magnolia Pictures for an undisclosed amount. [EW]

Kill Your Darlings, which stars Daniel Radcliffe as a young Allen Ginsberg and examines how a 1944 murder brought together the young college students who would become the voices of the Beat generation, was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, reportedly for about $2 million. [THR]

Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried as the famous adult film star of the 1972 box-office phenomenon Deep Throat, closed a reported $3 million deal with RADiUS – TWC for its U.S. distribution rights. [Deadline]

• Don Jon’s Addiction, written, directed, and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a porn addicted lothario, sold for $4 million to Relativity Media, with a reported $25 million promotional commitment. [EWDeadline]

• The Way, Way Back, a coming-of-age comedy starring Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, and Maya Rudolph, and written-and-directed by The Descendants‘ Oscar-winning scribes Nat Faxon and Jim Rash — sold for a whopping $9.75 million to Fox Searchlight. [THR, Deadline]

• Austenland, a comedy starring Keri Russell and Jennifer Coolidge about a resort where everyone behaves as if they’re in a Jane Austen novel, sold to Sony for just over $4 million, with Sony Pictures Classics handling U.S. distribution. [THR]

• Fruitvalestarring Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle) and Octavia Spencer in a docudrama about the last day in the life of a man who was killed at a San Francisco subway station on New Year’s Eve, sold to The Weinstein Company, for just over $2 million. [Deadline]

• The Spectacular Now, about a romance between an outgoing high schooler (Project X‘s Miles Teller) and his shy classmate (The Descendants‘ Shailene Woodley), sold to A24 for low seven figures. [DeadlineVariety]

• Concussionabout a lesbian housewife (Robin Weigert, from HBO’s Deadwood) who begins to lead a double life after she’s hit in the head with her son’s baseball, sold to RADiUS-TWC, for low seven figures. [EW]

• The Look of Love, a biopic of British adult establishment proprietor and publisher Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan), sold to IFC Films for an undisclosed sum. [Variety]

• We Are What We Are, a horror film about a family of cannibals inspired by the 2010 Mexican film of the same name (Somos lo que hay), made a deal for its U.S. rights with eOne Distribution in a reported low-seven-figure range. Memento Films has acquired the international rights. [THR, Indiewire]

• Two Mothers, a drama based on the Doris Lessing novella The Grandmothers about two lifelong friends (Naomi Watts and Robin Wright) who fall in love with each other’s sons, became the first-ever acquisition for Exclusive Releasing, the new distribution division of Exclusive Media. [Deadline]

• S-VHS, a found footage horror anthology movie about two private investigators who find VHS tapes with horrific content in the house of a missing college student, sold to Magnolia Pictures for more than $1 million. This is Magnolia’s third acquisition of the festival, following making deals to distribute Prince Avalanche and the documentary Blackfish. [THR]

• Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, a U.S. dramatic competition film about a young outlaw couple (Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck) in rural Texas, sold to IFC Films for a reported $1 million. [THR]

• Before Midnight, Richard Linklater’s highly anticipated follow-up to 1995’s Before Sunrise and 2004’s Before Sunset, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, closed a deal with Sony Pictures Classics for the film’s North American and U.K. rights. Financial terms were not released. The deal brings Linklater’s story of two almost-lovers back to Sony, which distributed Before Sunrise before Warner Independent Pictures took on Before Sunset. [EW]

• Newlyweeds, a dark comedy about a marijuana-dependent couple living in New York, closed a deal with Phase 4 Films, which bought the film’s North American distribution rights. [Deadline]

Milkshake, a dark comedy about teenage wannabe thug living in mid-1990s Washington, D.C., was acquired by Phase 4 Films, which will release Milkshake this summer in theaters and on VOD. [THR]

FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES:

Cutie and the Boxer, which examines the 40-year love story of two Japanese artists, made a deal with RADiUS – TWC for the North American and French rights for an unspecified amount. RADiUS has slated a 2013 release.

Inequality for All, in which former Labor Secretary Robert Reich examines the shrinking American middle class and explains what it means for the country’s future, sold to RADiUS-TWC for an undisclosed sum.

• Twenty Feet From Stardom, about the lives of backup singers, sold to RADiUS-TWC for an undisclosed sum. [EW]

• Pussy Riot — A Punk Prayer, about the Russian punk protest band famously arrested and imprisoned after an anti-government demonstration in a Russian church, sold to HBO Documentary Films for an undisclosed sum. [EW]

• Blackfish, about how the practice of keeping killer whales in captivity may have led to the death of a Sea World trainer by a killer whale called Tilikum, sold to CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures for an undisclosed sum. [Deadline]

• The Summit, about how 11 experienced mountain climbers either died or went missing during the same 48 hour period near the summit of K2 (the second highest mountain peak in the world), sold to AMC Networks’ Sundance Selects for an undisclosed sum. [Deadline]

• Dirty Wars, about the covert war on terror, sold to AMC Networks’ Sundance Selects, for an undisclosed sum. [Deadline]

• History of the Eagles, from director Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) that’s either about the history of the regal bird or the famed rock band (hint: it’s the latter, just want to be sure you’re paying attention), sold to pay-cable network Showtime for an undisclosed sum. [Deadline]

Read more on the Sundance Film Festival:
Sundance overview: 13 to see in ’13
Sundance 2013: Lisa Schwarzbaum’s favorite films so far — VIDEO
Sundance 2013: Lisa Schwarzbaum’s least favorite films so far — VIDEO

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