By Gregg Goldstein gcgoldstein@yahoo.com

Sundance Sales Chart Day Six

by Gregg Goldstein

Film Section Sales
Co
Odds Pros Cons First
Screening
Today’s Top Five
An Education World DrComp CAA 3:1 ’60s coming-of-age romance from scribe Nick Hornby with Sarsgaard, Molina, Thompson and a breakout Mulligan; Miramax’s Daniel Battsek left I Love You Phillip Morris to powwow, dropped out, but circling back Despite the pedigree, still no bankable stars, and patient buyers 1/18, 3p, Egyptian
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. Some mixed on its quality, some 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
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
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
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. Son dies in car accident: not a great sales pitch. Buyers’ feet keep dragging. 1/17, 3:15p, Eccles
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
Motherhood Premieres End 4:1 Harried-mom comedy with Thurman, Edwards, Driver Urban anxiety can make for anxious audiences 1/21, 9:30p, 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). Should eventually sell … … but how long will it take? And how do you sell it? Upcoming out-of-town buyer screenings may answer those questions 1/16, 8p, Racquet Club
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
The Winning Season Premieres 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 … … but not as commercial as hoped. Sam Rockwell films sell big at Sundance, but haven’t performed. 1/19, 8:30p, Library
Amreeka Dr Comp WM 5:1 Sometimes humorous, very topical struggle of Palestinian mom on West Bank; some positive reviews. No stars, Iraq war backdrop, and some not as enthusiastic; will need more critical response 1/17, 12:15p, Eccles
Arlen Faber Dr Comp CAA/
ICM
5:1 Daniels, Graham, Pucci in romantic tale of reclusive author Jury still out, but some mixed-to-negative reactions. 1/18, 5:15p, Racquet Club
Endgame Prem End 5:1 Good cast (Hurt, Ejiofor) in South African apartheid thriller Did anyone get to see it? CNN currently chock full of other real-life political thrillers 1/18, 6:15p, Eccles
Five Minutes of Heaven World DrComp UTA 5:1 Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt and director of “Downfall” Violence in Northern Ireland. Good times. 1/19, 6:30p, Egyptian
Paper Heart DrComp UTA 5:1 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
Peter and Vandy DrComp End 5:1 Some good buzz behind Manhattan romance with Sundance “Teeth” award-winner Weixler Not enought people saw, so Jury still out. 1/19, 8p, 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? Press screening bumped to Tuesday … at 11PM? 1/20, 11p, Holiday Village II
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Dr Comp CAA 6:1 Hot star John Krasinski directing, starring and adapting from David Foster Wallace novel Response not hideous, but not great 1/19, 3:15p. Eccles
Cold Souls DrComp Cin 6:1 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
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
The Killing Room Mid CAA 7:1 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 7:1 Talented scribe Oren Moverman’s directing debut Another Iraq war drama; Ben Foster, Harrelson have spotty track records 1/19, 9:30p, Eccles
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
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
We Live In Public Doc Comp Sub/
Cin
6:1 Stranger than fiction dot-com boom art experiment from Web entrepreneur Must rise above Discovery Channel audience interest to sell 1/19, 6p, 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

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“A shot is a story. A shot on its own should be a piece of a story. Which is why I talk a lot about watching films, even the films we’re working on, with the sound off. Just to analyze how the film works, because a film should work for an audience without any sound. The biggest problem I see is that someone may have a superficial understanding of what a shot is propositionally, but they don’t have an understanding of how all of these shots are part of a family that needs to connect, and so you’ll get something that’s like a sentence arranged poorly with six nouns in a row. That surprises me, because I think that’s something that can be learned. Some things can’t be, but that can. It’s a grammar. In a classroom I could walk somebody through the difference between a sequence in which the filmmaker has a deep understanding of how images connect, and someone who doesn’t. It’s not really an intellectual process. Some people are just born with it and are just sort of savants at that deep mathematical understanding of shot construction.  I’m better than I used to be, but there are some people I’m just never going to catch. Spielberg. His staging ability. I’m never going to catch him. But when you’re trying to figure out how to get better—I’m not competitive in the sense of looking around at other filmmakers and comparing myself to them. What I do have to think about in trying to navigate myself through a career is: what can I get better at, and what do I have that I can enhance that somebody else doesn’t have?”
~ Steven Soderbergh

“It’s not going to be huge. He and I had been corresponding for a while. When I finally met him, he said, ‘We should collaborate.’ When John Ashbery says that to you, you don’t say when, you just say yes. It has not been easy to conjure this out of nothing. Sean Price Williams and I spent time with him, and it will appear on FilmStruck before the year is out…. I have figured out how to streamline things. I still have dreams of making movies with bigger budgets, and they might be considered to have more of a voice in pop culture. I don’t want to let go of that. I also realize that you grow up a lot of your life with wishful thinking and waiting. I have figured out ways to avoid doing that. I am working on a bigger movie about Nikola Tesla, set in the past, so it is not an easy film to make. I am also working on an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s ‘White Noise.’ That seems more likely to catch fire.”
Michael Almereyda Steps It Up