By Gregg Goldstein gcgoldstein@yahoo.com

Sundance Sales Chart Day Seven

by Gregg Goldstein

Film Section Sales
Co
Odds Pros Cons First
Screening
Today’s Top Five
Spread Prem CAA/
End
3:1 Gigolo satire from sexpert helmer of “Young Adam.” Lots of T (female) and A (Ashton Kutcher). Played like a wide-release commercial film.; will Summit return to table? Some don’t feel it lives up to the sum of its body parts, others low-balling offers. Ashton Kutcher and Anne Heche don’t scream “smart comedy” to prospective moviegoers. 1/17, 9:15p, Eccles
I Love You Phillip Morris Prem CAA/
End
3:1 A Carrey/McGregor prison romance from writers of “Bad Santa.”Good reviews flowing in for true con-man story with a dozen twists, some great audience response. A comedy? A drama? A romance? A crime thriller? One thing’s for sure, lots of gay sex, and any excuse for a buyer to be cautious… 1/18, 9:30p, Eccles
In The Loop Premieres Prot/WM 3:1 James Gandolfini in satire of war and politics could be a sleeper hit; seemed to live up to initial promise for most Small, filled with unknown Brits and distinctly British humour 1/19, 11:15a, Yarrow
The Greatest DrComp End/
CAA
4:1 Tearjerker with Brosnan and Sarandon called “as fine a debut as we can present”; packed an emotional wallop for many and said to be moving. Son dies in car accident: not a great sales pitch. Buyers’ feet keep dragging. 1/17, 3:15p, Eccles
World’s Greatest Dad Spectrum CAA/
Cin
4:1 Robin Williams in another dark comedy from Bobcat Goldthwait. Some loved it, and said to be momentous … … others felt it was just crass with flawed execution of good idea. 1/18, 5:30p, Library
Other Narratives In Play
Moon Premieres 4:1 Compelling 2001-style sci-fi thriller getting good buzz from two P&I screenings. Sony Pictures WW Acq Group has English language rights and looking for theatrical partner Perennial Sundance fave Sam Rockwell, the only on-screen talent, not a box office draw. If that good, why is Sony looking to partner? 1/23, 6:15p, Eccles
Push: Based on the
novel by Sapphire
DrComp Cin 4:1 Standing O for audacious portrait of abused girl; vivid performances by Mo’Nique and wacky supporting cast (Mariah Carey, Sherry Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz). Rumored TWC/BET combo interested and should eventually sell … … but how long will it take? And how do you sell it? Out-of-town buyer screenings may answer those questions 1/16, 8p, Racquet Club
Paper Heart DrComp UTA 4:1 Two words: Michael Cera. Sale of flawed all-star “Brooklyn’s Finest” bodes well; some in audience responded well … … some, not so much. Response at premiere didn’t improve muted reaction to screener much 1/17, 8p, Racquet Club
Five Minutes of Heaven World DrComp UTA 4:1 Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt and director of “Downfall” Violence in Northern Ireland. Good times. 1/19, 6:30p, Egyptian
The September Issue Doc Comp CAA 4:1 Rare inside look at the alleged inspiration for “The Devil Wear’s Prada,” Vogue’s Anna Wintour; some positive early buzz. Sellers still have to convince buyers it’s as theatrical as its subject and that there’s enough Devil with the Prada; no immediate nibbles 1/16, 6:30p, Rose Wagner
Amreeka Dr Comp WM 5:1 Sometimes humorous, very topical struggle of Palestinian mom on West Bank; some positive reviews could make for a late pickup No stars, Iraq war backdrop, and some not as enthusiastic; will need more critical response 1/17, 12:15p, Eccles
Endgame Prem End 5:1 Good cast (Hurt, Ejiofor) in South African apartheid thriller garnering a few good reviews Did anyone get to see it? CNN currently chock full of other real-life political thrillers 1/18, 6:15p, Eccles
Motherhood Premieres End 5:1 Harried-mom comedy with Thurman, Edwards, Driver Urban anxiety can make for anxious audiences; late fest debut not a good sign for prospects. 1/21, 9:30p, Eccles
Cold Souls DrComp Cin 5:1 Giamatti, Strathairn, Watson, Ambrose in a unique “metaphysical tragi-comedy”; Canadian rights acquired by E1 Films Canada; more screenings warming things up a bit Chilly response from some south of the border 1/17, 5:15p, Racquet Club
Shrink Premieres WM 5:1 “In Treatment” has proven the appeal of therapy dramas Spacey’s star power has shrunk; Hollywood inside baseball? May experience shrinkage. 1/20, 11p, Holiday Village II
Arlen Faber Dr Comp CAA/
ICM
6:1 Daniels, Graham, Pucci in romantic tale of reclusive author Jury still out, but some mixed-to-negative reactions. 1/18, 5:15p, Racquet Club
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Dr Comp CAA 7:1 Hot star John Krasinski directing, starring and adapting from David Foster Wallace novel Response not hideous, but not great 1/19, 3:15p. Eccles
Don’t Let Me Drown DrComp Loeb
Loeb
7:1 Latino high schoolers in post-9/11 romantic drama; getting some very positive reaction and potential awards traction No stars, premise depressing on paper. 1/18, 12:15p, Eccles
Peter and Vandy DrComp End 7:1 Some good buzz behind Manhattan romance with Sundance “Teeth” award-winner Weixler Unclear if played well enough to break out, overcome lack of star power 1/19, 8p, Racquet Club
The Killing Room Mid CAA 8:1 Psychological thriller with compelling premise and solid indie cast slayed some audience members … … while others feel it’s a pretentious “Saw”; could middling response kill its chances? 1/16, 11:30a, Prospector
The Messenger Premieres UTA 5:1 Talented scribe Oren Moverman’s directing debut, and some seem to like it Another Iraq war drama; Ben Foster, Harrelson have spotty track records 1/19, 9:30p, Eccles
Big Fan DrComp Andr
Hur
8:1 Some champions for dark sports fanatic spoof directed by “The Wrestler” scribe. Others not such big fans; momentum slowing. Despite good performance, star Patton Oswalt an unproven commodity. 1/18, 8p, Racquet Club
Dare DrComp xCin 9:1 Sex-charged teen romance featuring Emmy Rossum Not great buzz. 1/19, 5:15p, Racquet Club
Helen Spectrum Little 10:1 Ashley Judd sinks her teeth into bipolar role, and can sell some ancillary Seems to be depressing buyers, and audience response is tepid 1/16, 8:45, Library
Manure Premieres v 10:1 Thornton, Leoni, McLachlan in what could be the Polish Bros’ Coen Bros moment with a ’60s period comedy Polish Bros artiness sometimes overwhelms all else 1/20, 9:30p, Eccles
Mary & Max Opening Night Icon 10:1 Quirky Aussie claymation from Oscar-winning director good enough to attract Hoffman and Collette Too quirky for many at the opening night screening, garnering mixed reactions 1/15, 6p, Eccles
Mystery Team Midnight Sub 10:1 Potential sleeper with foul-mouthed teens; could hit right chord; got some good reviews. Others not as enthused by comedy troupe’s feature as their online shorts. No-name cast. 1/17, 11:30p, Library
Toe To Toe DrComp WM 10:1 Complicated relationship between two female high school teammates; interracial issues a hot topic. A few good reviews. No stars, and some uncertainty. Buzz not strong, but can later word-of-mouth help? 1/16, 3:15p, Eccles
The Vicious Kind Spectrum ICM 10:1 Tough portrait of emotionally damaged father See “Pros”; more need to see for verdict 1/17, 8:30p, Library
Other Documentaries In Play
The Carter Midnight Cin 4:1 One of the hottest selling rappers in a hurting music biz, Lil’ Wayne. Not much rapping among buyers, but the fest is young; will the audience for this film go to the theater or wait for DVD? 1/17, Midnight Eccles
Good Hair Doc Comp ICM 4:1 If every black hair magazine reader buys a ticket to producer/star Chris Rock’s comic, celeb-filled take on the topic, it’s a hit. Great early reaction. Interest in niche topic could be hair today, gone tomorrow 1/18, 9p, Temple
Passing Strange Spectrum: Docu Spotlight End 5:1 Spike Lee filmed this unconventional, Tony-nominated musical, and both names will help sell the project: some good initial word growing Still has to show its theatrical pull 1/16, 2:30p, Library
We Live In Public Doc Comp Sub/
Cin
5:1 Stranger than fiction dot-com boom art experiment from Web entrepreneur; living up to some initial hype/ Must rise above Discovery Channel audience interest to sell 1/19, 6p, Temple
Art & Copy Doc Comp Sub 6:1 Ad industry study getting good word of mouth; could it be this year’s “Helvetica?” Amidst interest, some are questioning commercial appeal 1/16, 5:30p, Prospector
Reporter Doc Comp Films
Trans
6:1 A New York Times reporter’s valiant attempt to put an African crisis on the map speaks volumes about the state of journalism today Most political docs have had a tough box office ride 1/16, 9:30p, Temple
When You’re Strange Doc Comp Sub/
Cin
8:1 Indie vet Tom DiCillo unveils all-original footage of The Doors Video sales assured, but will it break on through to theatrical? Some not loving it two times … or even once. 1/17, 9p, Temple
The Cove Doc Comp Sub/
WM
7:1 Fascination with dolphins may propel sale of this dark tale; some very emotional audience reactions Animal Planet shows wade in similar waters 1/18, 3p, Temple
No Impact Man Spectrum: Docu Spotlight Cin 8:1 Family undertakes controversial experiment to live a year with no carbon footprint; could tap “An Inconvenient Truth” audience Another inconvenient truth: many socially conscious docs have no theatrical impact 1/16, 11:30a, Library
Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy Spectrum WM 8:1 Robert Townsend interviews a Who’s Who of top comedians. The next Kings of Comedy? DVD co. is a producer, so no pressure for theatrical sale 1/17, 5:30p, Prospector
Big River Man World Doc Comp Salt 20:1 Slovenian man’s attempt at record swim could be Michael Phelps meets “Grizzly Man” No waves just yet. 1/16, 3:15p, HV4

FILMS SOLD SO FAR …

Film Buyer Sales
Co
Section Pros Cons First
Screening
Adam Fox Searchlight Film Sales Co. DrComp Manhattan 20-something romance with Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne; hey, they did well with “Once” Common quote from execs on Monday night party circuit: They’re buying that movie? 1/16, 6:15p. Eccles
Brooklyn’s Finest Senator Ent
& Sony Pictures
WM/
CAA
Prem Gere, Cheadle, Hawke, Snipes, Barkin in cop drama from “Training Day” director. Film went out with a bang audiences hated, but director is cutting. Not the feel-good film of the year. Audience liked sections of it, hated others, but helmer has until fall to tweak. 1/16, 6:15p. Eccles
Black Dynamite Sony Pictures End Mid Good response leads to overnight sale. May be too culty for its own good, but at 2 million a safe bet. 1/18, 11:30p, Library
Humpday Magnolia Sub DrComp Straight best buds link for gay porn; those who loved it really have a hard-on for it… No stars, a premise not for the squeamish, and failed to turn a few on 1/16, 12:15p, Eccles
An Education Sony Picutres Classics CAA 3:1 ’60s coming-of-age romance from scribe Nick Hornby with Sarsgaard, Molina, Thompson and a breakout Mulligan Despite the pedigree, still no bankable stars. 1/18, 3p, Egyptian
The Winning Season Lionsgate Cin 4:1 Female “Bad News Bears” dramedy centering on high school basketball team, Emma Roberts, late add like top-seller “Hamlet 2″; some found very charming … Sam Rockwell films sell big at Sundance, but haven’t performed. 1/19, 8:30p, Library

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Feature films are suffering a kind of bad time right now, in my opinion, because the feature films that play in theaters are blockbusters. That seems to fill the theaters, but the art-house cinema is gone. If I made a feature film, it might play in L.A. and New York, a couple of other places, for a week in a little part of a cineplex, and then it would go who knows where. I built this to be on the big screen. It will be on a smaller screen, but it’s built for the big screen. You want a feature film to play on a big screen with big sound, and utilize all the best technology to make a world. It’s really tough after all that work to not get it in the theater. So I say that cable television is a new art house, and it’s good that it’s here.”
~ David Lynch

“The purpose of film isn’t to present the kindness of the world.”
~ Isabelle Huppert