We’ve been relishing the chance to be in Park City again this year for Sundance, despite the fact that for the first time in the festival’s history no movies are being screened on 35mm. That said, some already incredible movies have received awards and much deserved buzz. Most notable among them is Don Hertzfeld’s animated World of Tomorrow, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film.
But we’ve also been watching the buyers, because for those of us who couldn’t make it out to Utah this year, we have an invested interest in actually seeing these movies some day. Here’s a list of some of the more notable deals that were struck. Indiewire has a full list of films and buyers.
The End of the Tour – A24 picked up James P0nsoldt’s (Smashed, The Spectacular Now) biopic of David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), about a period in 1996 when the writer was visited by Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg), who also wrote the screenplay. Lane Scarberry said in her review that the film “is a cinematic think piece about loneliness, success, and American consumerism.”
Knock Knock – Eli Roth’s latest is now in the proud hands of Lionsgate, who The Wrap reported was sold for $2.5 million. The home invasion horror story stars Keanu Reeves in what Dylan Griffin says is a campy best role for the movie star.
Cop Car – Called an “instant classic Americana genre film” by Dylan Griffin, Cop Car was purchased by Focus Features subsidiary Focus World. The film stars Kevin Bacon and was directed by Jon Watts.
Mistress America – Though Noah Baumbach already has While We’re Young arriving this spring, his latest Mistress America pairs him again with Greta Gerwig as a screenwriting partner. Fox Searchlight made the pickup.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Me and Earl and The Dying Girl hit a Sundance record with a $12 million deal with Fox Searchlight. The film follows in the Fault in the Stars vein as a high school tearjerker about a girl suffering through leukemia. Dylan Griffin says to believe the hype.
Dope – Also a big earner at Sundance, Dope, a coming of age comedy of kids all obsessed with ’90s hip-hop and starring The Grand Budapest Hotel’s Tony Revolori, made $7 million from Open Road Pictures. Read Dylan Griffin’s review.
The biggest casting news of the week was that Emma Watson, as she announced via Facebook, will star in Disney’s live action version of The Beauty and the Beast, adding to their collection of “Brand Deposits” that have already included Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent. Beauty and the Beast being a thing that every ’90s kid loves, and Emma Watson being a person everyone agrees is awesome, this sort of set the Internet a blaze. I mean, it’s great casting! Because she was in Harry Potter! And maybe they’ll get a hot Neville Longbottom to play Beast! And she’s a feminist who we all love! And she can sing, right? Hmm… well, she’s still AWESOME. The film will be directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) and written by Watson’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower director Stephen Chbosky.
Four of the five songs nominated for Best Original Song at this year’s Oscars have so far been confirmed to be performed at the Oscar ceremony on February 22. Maroon 5’s Adam Levine will perform “Lost Stars” from Begin Again, Rita Orr will perform “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights, Tim McGraw will perform the Glen Campbell song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from the documentary Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me, and John Legend and Common will perform “Glory” from Selma. That’s a pretty big list of superstars, helped by the fact that this is one of the better Best Original Song crops in years. Except the holdout is the song that is the absolute best and should totally win, “Everything is AWESOME!!!” from The LEGO Movie. Who’s door do I have to knock on to get this to happen? Tegan and Sara’s or Andy Samberg’s?
Also making news:
- Eddie Murphy could be making a return to SNL on the show’s 40th anniversary special on February 15, which would be a very big deal.
- If you’d like to watch a bootlegged version of the Game of Thrones Season 5 trailer, you can do so here. We’ll post the official version once it becomes available.
- In case you didn’t already know, there’s a rumor that Chris Pratt could be the next Indiana Jones in a rebooted franchise.
- Also from Sundance, George Lucas had some choice words for Hollywood.
- Woody Allen’s next movie is called Irrational Man and stars Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone.
- Aziz Ansari will release a second stand-up special via Netflix, called Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden. It will be available for streaming March 6.
- Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX have confirmed release dates in 2017 and 2019.