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Sundance Sales Chart Day Ten

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

by Gregg Goldstein

Film
Section
Sales
Co
Odds
Pros
Cons
First
Screening
Today’s Top Five
Push: Based on the
novel by Sapphire
DrComp
Cin
2:1
Standing O for audacious portrait of abused girl; vivid performances by Mo’Nique and wacky supporting cast (Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz). A TWC/BET partnership one of several possibilities; hoped-for close before awards ceremony.
… but how long will it take? And how do you sell it? Both buyers and sellers carefully weighing release strategy for tough material
1/16, 8p, Racquet Club
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. Buyers dragging feet, waiting for better deal on big names. 1/18, 9:30p, Eccles
Art & Copy
Doc Comp
Sub
4:1
Ad industry study getting good word of mouth; could it be this year’s “Helvetica?” Growing sales buzz.
Amidst interest, some are questioning commercial appeal
1/16, 5:30p, Prospector
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 buzz and interest ramping up..
Sellers still have to convince buyers it’s as theatrical as its subject and that there’s enough Devil with the Prada.
1/16, 6:30p, Rose Wagner
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. Buyers interested, could be tears of joy soon, if talk is to be believed.
Son dies in car accident: not a great sales pitch.
1/17, 3:15p, Eccles
Other Narratives In Play
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
Cold Souls
DrComp
Cin
4:1
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, but buyers may be warming to it.
1/17, 5:15p, Racquet Club
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
Don’t Let Me Drown
DrComp
Loeb
Loeb
5:1
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
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
World’s Greatest Dad
Spectrum
CAA/
Cin
5:1
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. Buyers won’t kill themselves if they don’t get it.
1/18, 5:30p, Library
Motherhood
Premieres
End
6:1
Harried-mom comedy with Thurman, Edwards, Driver
Urban anxiety can make for anxious audiences; may be a bit slower than hoped for in finding the right parents.
1/21, 9:30p, Eccles
Peter and Vandy
DrComp
End
6:1
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
Shrink
Premieres
WM
6:1
“In Treatment” has proven the appeal of therapy dramas
Spacey’s star power has shrunk; Hollywood inside baseball? Experiencing some shrinkage
1/20, 11p, Holiday Village II
The Messenger
Premieres
UTA
6:1
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
7:1
Some champions for dark sports fanatic spoof directed by “The Wrestler” scribe. Manohla likes.
Others not such big fans; momentum slowing. Despite good performance, star Patton Oswalt an unproven commodity.
1/18, 8p, Racquet Club
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Dr Comp
CAA
8:1
Hot star John Krasinski directing, starring and adapting from David Foster Wallace novel
Response not hideous, but not great
1/19, 3:15p. Eccles
Arlen Faber
Dr Comp
CAA/
ICM
8:1
Daniels, Graham, Pucci in romantic tale of reclusive author
Mixed-to-negative reactions.
1/18, 5:15p, 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 theatrical chances?
1/16, 11:30a, Prospector
The Vicious Kind
Spectrum
ICM
8:1
Tough portrait of emotionally damaged man; getting some good buzz
See “Pros”; very Sundance, and appears more dour on paper than it really is.
1/17, 8:30p, Library
Dare
DrComp
xCin
9:1
Sex-charged teen romance featuring Emmy Rossum
Not great buzz.
1/19, 5:15p, Racquet Club
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; lives up to title for some.
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
11:1
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
11:1
Complicated relationship between two female high school teammates; interracial issues a hot topic. A few good reviews.
No stars, also very Sundance. Sales buzz not strong, but is this the kind of movie the jury will go for?
1/16, 3:15p, Eccles
Helen
Spectrum
Little
12:1
Ashley Judd sinks her teeth into bipolar role, and can sell some ancillary
Seems to be depressing buyers, and audience response is tepid; living up to its name for some.
1/16, 8:45, Library
Moon
Premieres
1000:1
Compelling 2001-style sci-fi thriller getting good buzz from two P&I screenings. Sony Pictures WW Acq Group has English language rights and was quietly looking for theatrical partner, but went for in-house SPC.
Perennial Sundance fave Sam Rockwell, the only on-screen talent, not a box office draw. If that good, why was Sony looking to partner?
1/23, 6:15p, Eccles
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? Or copy the DVD making the rounds at the festival?
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
4:1
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
The Cove
Doc Comp
Sub/
WM
4:1
Fascination with dolphins may propel sale of this dark tale; some very emotional audience reactions and sold-out screenings
Animal Planet shows wade in similar waters
1/18, 3p, Temple
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
Reporter
Doc Comp
Films
Trans
7:1
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
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 thatmovie? 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
In The Loop
IFC Films
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
Spread
Anchor Bay/TVA
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 but distributors not putting out what sellers want. 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
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

Sundance Sales Chart – Day Nine

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

by Gregg Goldstein

Film Section Sales

Co

Odds Pros Cons First

Screening

Today’s Top Five
Push: Based on the

novel by Sapphire

DrComp Cin 2:1 Standing O for audacious portrait of abused girl; vivid performances by Mo’Nique and wacky supporting cast (Mariah Carey, Sherry Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz). A TWC/BET partnership one of several possibilities; expected to close before awards ceremony. … 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
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 but distributors not putting out what sellers want. Will Summit return to the 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
Moon Premieres 3:1 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
The September Issue Doc Comp CAA 3:1 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
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. Buyers dragging feet, waiting for better deal on big names. 1/18, 9:30p, Eccles
Other Narratives In Play
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
Cold Souls DrComp Cin 4:1 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, but buyers may be warming to it. 1/17, 5:15p, Racquet Club
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
The Greatest DrComp End/

CAA

5:1 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 interested, but no one is crying for an immediate sale. 1/17, 3:15p, Eccles
World’s Greatest Dad Spectrum CAA/

Cin

5:1 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. Buyers won’t kill themselves if they don’t get it. 1/18, 5:30p, Library
Don’t Let Me Drown DrComp Loeb

Loeb

6:1 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
Motherhood Premieres End 6:1 Harried-mom comedy with Thurman, Edwards, Driver Urban anxiety can make for anxious audiences; may be a bit slower than hoped for in finding the right parents. 1/21, 9:30p, Eccles
Peter and Vandy DrComp End 6:1 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
Shrink Premieres WM 6:1 “In Treatment” has proven the appeal of therapy dramas Spacey’s star power has shrunk; Hollywood inside baseball? Experiencing some shrinkage 1/20, 11p, Holiday Village II
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
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
Arlen Faber Dr Comp CAA/

ICM

8:1 Daniels, Graham, Pucci in romantic tale of reclusive author Jury still out, but some mixed-to-negative reactions. 1/18, 5:15p, Racquet Club
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
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 Vicious Kind Spectrum ICM 8:1 Tough portrait of emotionally damaged man; getting some good buzz See “Pros”; more need to see for verdict 1/17, 8:30p, Library
Dare DrComp xCin 9:1 Sex-charged teen romance featuring Emmy Rossum Not great buzz. 1/19, 5:15p, Racquet Club
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
Helen Spectrum Little 12:1 Ashley Judd sinks her teeth into bipolar role, and can sell some ancillary Seems to be depressing buyers, and audience response is tepid; living up to its name for some. 1/16, 8:45, Library
Other Documentaries In Play
Art & Copy Doc Comp Sub 4:1 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
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? Or copy the DVD making the rounds at festivals? 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 4:1 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
The Cove Doc Comp Sub/

WM

5:1 Fascination with dolphins may propel sale of this dark tale; some very emotional audience reactions and sold-out screenings Animal Planet shows wade in similar waters 1/18, 3p, Temple
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
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
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
In The Loop IFC Films 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 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

Sundance Sales Chart Day Seven

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

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

Sundance Sales Chart Day Six

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

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

Sony Pictures Classics Nabs North American and Latin American Rights to An Education in $3 Million Deal

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

By Gregg Goldstein
Sony Pictures Classics has nabbed North American and Latin American rights to An Education in a $3 million deal, following a winding series of deal moves since its Sunday premiere that had Miramax and Fox Searchlight in play.
With all the buzz about Searchlight’s low bid on the 60s coming-of-age saga An Education — first from Anne Thompson‘s blog late Sunday, then from THR late Monday — two important players were overlooked: Miramax and Sony Pictures Classics.
As every big indie exec attended the Sunday night screening of I Love You Phillip Morris starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, at least two titles were in play: the Saturday premiere sex comedy Spread (also co-repped by CAA and Endeavor – read about the possible sales impact from Ashton Kutcher‘s bodacious back end here – it’s expected to close soon) and the CAA-repped Education, which gained unexpected heat from a strong debut that afternoon.
Less than halfway through Morris, Miramax president Daniel Battsek and one of his execs bolted from their seats in the Eccles to pow-wow about Education. Like Searchlight (whose topper Peter Rice was also in the screening), they felt the high-seven-figure asking price was way too high.
By the time the Eccles screening ended, Miramax and Searchlight had backed off. But it was clearly a high priority if they were interested enough to leave one of the biggest marquee-name films of the fest (and a recipient of some great reviews, despite concerns over graphic gay sex scenes and drastic switches in tone).
By Monday night, the film’s agreed-upon market value was now back down to a Sony Pictures Classics-level price range. The company made some uncharacteristically early Sundance moves last year in similar situations when bidding wars failed to erupt, and Education is similar to several period/pedigree films they’ve handled before.
Any of the distributors could do a great marketing job – both Battsek and Rice know the film’s British milieu, that’s for sure – but all have to overcome having a talented cast with no boxoffice pull, taking a bit of a risk on quality. The last Sundance film led by its star Peter Sarsgaard, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, just sold to Peace Arch… a year after its premiere here. But Nick Hornby’s script and Lone Scherfing’s script have drawn acclaim, and young newcomer Carey Mulligan’s breakout performance as a 16-year-old London girl swept off her feet by a British playboy could be marketed well in the right hands.
After buying stayed in a holding pattern, SPC swept into the lead, willing to outbid competitors that usually sign bigger checks. Endgame Entertainment (which recently sold its Chorus Line doc Every Little Step to Sony Classics) and BBC Films produced the film, which is expected to open this fall.

Sundance Sales Chart Day Five

Monday, January 19th, 2009

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; ecstatic response prompted several bids Sunday night, but no deal yet. Pedigree, but no bankable stars makes it a risk. 1/18, 3p, Egyptian
Humpday DrComp Sub 3:1 Straight best buds link for gay porn; those who loved it really have a hard-on for it; said to finally be close to a deal … … though buyer may be dry-humping. No stars, a premise not for the squeamish, and failed to turn a few on 1/16, 12:15p, Eccles
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.” Fascinating true con-man story with a dozen twists and turns, with some great audience response. A comedy? A drama? A romance? A crime thriller? One thing’s for sure, lots of gay sex. Some concerned about NC-17. More worried how to market. 1/18, 9:30p, Eccles
World’s Greatest Dad Spectrum CAA/
Cin
4:1 Robin Williams in another dark comedy from “Sleeping Dogs Lie” writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait. Some loved it … … 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
4:1 Some good early response to dark sports fanatic spoof directed by “The Wrestler” scribe. Others not such big fans. Despite a 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 dragging feet a bit. 1/17, 3:15p, Eccles
In The Loop Premieres Prot 4:1 James Gandolfini in satire of war and politics could be a sleeper hit; word-of-mouth building from pre-fest screening Small, filled with unknown Brits and distinctly British humour 1/19, 11:15a, Yarrow
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” centering on high school basketball team, Emma Roberts, late add like top-seller “Hamlet 2″ Sam Rockwell films sell big at Sundance, but haven’t performed. James Strouse a Sundance fave … but not for comedy 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
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Dr Comp CAA 5:1 Hot star John Krasinski directing, starring and adapting from David Foster Wallace novel Adaptations are tricky, and not every sitcom star is Zach Braff. Slot after heated sales lineup weekend 1/19, 3:15p. Eccles
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 & Vandy DrComp End 5:1 Some good buzz behind Manhattan romance with Sundance “Teeth” award-winner Weixler Stage adaptations risk being stagey; Star Ritter must live down last year’s “Good Dick” 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
Cold Souls DrComp Cin 6:1 Giamatti, Strathairn, Watson, Ambrose in a unique “metaphysical tragi-comedy”; Canadian rights acquired by E1 Films Canada Chilly response from some south of the border 1/17, 5:15p, Racquet Club
Dare DrComp xCin 6:1 Sex-charged teen romance featuring Emmy Rossum Supporting cast (Gasteyer, Cumming, Bernhard) from many an indie stinker 1/19, 5:15p, Racquet Club
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
Don’t Let Me Drown DrComp Loeb
Loeb
8:1 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
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 boxoffice 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
6:1 Indie vet Tom DiCillo unveils all-original footage of The Doors Video sales assured, but will it break on through to theatrical? Some industry office screener feedback less than stellar 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
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

Short Take – I Love You Phillip Morris (views)

Monday, January 19th, 2009

There’s nothing that can prepare you for I Love You Phillip Morris, a con-man, gay-romantic, prison-escape, sex-farce comedy-drama (based on an unbelievable true crime story… or was it?) which defies any expectations you bring to it.
First-time writer/directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are trying for something much more than the bitter satire of their great Bad Santa script. The subject is Steve Russell (Jim Carrey), a married cop who comes out of the closet and into a life of crime-fueled luxury, landing him in prison. There he falls in love at first sight with the shy, blonde title character (Ewan McGregor), but he’s just as in love with con artistry. The result is a series of dizzying twists and turns that would be a crime to spoil.

The film’s tone stays devoted to whatever Carrey’s character wants you to feel (well, most of the time), a dizzying experience that veers from comedy to drama to romance to suspense and many places in between. It’s a daring move to go from prison oral sex jokes to a completely serious, intense romantic scene between two men within minutes of each other. Both would work perfectly on their own terms if viewed as separate clips. Together the effect is disorienting, and surely will alienate even some open-minded viewers, but it’s key to the filmmakers’ audacious agenda.

Some will see lost opportunities for laughs (and rightly so, given the principals’ track records). But others could justifiably argue it would’ve erased some affecting poignancy in key scenes, rare in any romantic drama these days, let alone a gay one with movie stars.
It’s a testament to Carrey’s ability that fears of “can-he-tone-his-shtick-down” don’t haunt the viewer. He segues from characteristically goofy moves to earnest moments that don’t seem as maudlin as he’s been at times. McGregor is as good as ever, completely authentic. You totally buy the passion between them.

Morris cons its audience, but in a good way. We’re its victims, and the strength of its appeal will lie mainly in your ability to sit back, go along for the ride, let where it takes you affect you and not mind the manipulation.

Sundance Sales Chart Day Four

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

by Gregg Goldstein

Film Section Sales
Co
Odds Pros Cons First
Screening
Today’s Top Five
I Love You Phillip Morris Prem CAA/
End
2:1 A Carrey/McGregor prison romance from writers of “Bad Santa” First-time helmers tackle subject matter that could go very wrong in the wrong hands. 1/18, 9:30p, Eccles
Push: Based on the
novel by Sapphire
DrComp Cin 2:1 Standing O for audacious portrait of abused girl; vivid performances by Mo’Nique and wacky supporting cast (Mariah Carey, Sherry Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz) How much of the rapturous response is the Sundance effect? And how do you sell it? Upcoming out-of-town buyer screenings may answer those questions 1/16, 8p, Racquet Club
Spread Prem CAA/
End
2:1 Gigolo satire from sexpert helmer of “Young Adam”; played well at tonight’s premiere Ashton Kutcher and Anne Heche don’t scream “smart comedy” to prospective moviegoers 1/17, 9:15p, Eccles
Humpday DrComp Sub 2:1 Straight best buds link for gay porn; those who loved it really have a hard-on for it; one distributor in talks, could sell by end of weekend No stars, a premise not for the squeamish, and failed to turn a few on 1/16, 12:15p, Eccles
The Greatest DrComp End/
CAA
3:1 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 1/17, 3:15p, Eccles
Other Narratives In Play
An Education World DrComp CAA 4:1 ’60s coming-of-age romance from scribe Nick Hornby with Sarsgaard, Molina, Thompson and a breakout Mulligan Subject matter too familiar and trite if not done right 1/18, 3p, Egyptian
Arlen Faber Dr Comp CAA/
ICM
4:1 Daniels, Graham, Pucci in romantic tale of reclusive author Might be too navel-gazing or quirky for its own good 1/18, 5:15p, Racquet Club
In The Loop Premieres Prot 4:1 James Gandolfini in satire of war and politics could be a sleeper hit; word-of-mouth building from pre-fest screening Small, filled with unknown Brits and distinctly British humour 1/19, 11:15a, Yarrow
Motherhood Premieres End 4:1 Harried-mom comedy with Thurman, Edwards, Driver Urban anxiety can make for anxious audiences 1/21, 9:30p, Eccles
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; great early buzz from SLC screening 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” centering on high school basketball team, Emma Roberts, late add like top-seller “Hamlet 2″ Sam Rockwell films sell big at Sundance, but haven’t performed. James Strouse a Sundance fave … but not for comedy 1/19, 8:30p, Library
World’s Greatest Dad Spectrum CAA/
Cin
4:1 Robin Williams in another dark comedy from “Sleeping Dogs Lie” writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait Williams sometimes a selling point, sometimes a liability 1/18, 5:30p, 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
Big Fan DrComp Andr
Hur
5:1 Good buzz on sports fanatic spoof directed by “The Wrestler” scribe … … who also wrote “The Onion Movie.” Star Patton Oswalt an unproven commodity 1/18, 8p, Racquet Club
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Dr Comp CAA 5:1 Hot star John Krasinski directing, starring and adapting from David Foster Wallace novel Adaptations are tricky, and not every sitcom star is Zach Braff. Slot after heated sales lineup weekend 1/19, 3:15p. Eccles
Endgame Prem End 5:1 Good cast (Hurt, Ejiofor) in South African apartheid thriller CNN currently chock full of other real-life political thrillers 1/18, 6:16p, 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 & Vandy DrComp End 5:1 Some good buzz behind Manhattan romance with Sundance “Teeth” award-winner Weixler Stage adaptations risk being stagey; Star Ritter must live down last year’s “Good Dick” 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? 1/18, 11:15a, Yarrow
Cold Souls DrComp Cin 6:1 Giamatti, Strathairn, Watson, Ambrose in a unique “metaphysical tragi-comedy”; Canadian rights acquired by E1 Films Canada Chilly response from some south of the border 1/17, 5:15p, Racquet Club
Dare DrComp xCin 6:1 Sex-charged teen romance featuring Emmy Rossum Supporting cast (Gasteyer, Cumming, Bernhard) from many an indie stinker 1/19, 5:15p, Racquet Club
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
Black Dynamite Mid End 8:1 Blaxploitation satire with potential for cult following Too culty for its own good? 1/18, 11:30p, Library
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 … …or extremely wrong one. Online trailer looks iffy; no-name cast; Sunday brunch chatter will reveal fate 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, Early buzz not looking good, but many have yet to weigh in 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
Don’t Let Me Drown DrComp Loeb
Loeb
20:1 Latino high schoolers in post-9/11 romantic drama No stars, depressing premise 1/18, 12:15p, Eccles
Other Documentaries In Play
The Carter Midnight Cin 4:1 One of the hottest selling rappers in a hurting music biz, Lil’ Wayne; if buyers wake up rapping, could get a platinum deal Will the audience for this film go to the theater or wait for DVD? 1/17, Midnight Eccles
Good Hair Doc Comp ICM 5:1 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. 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 boxoffice 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
6:1 Indie vet Tom DiCillo unveils all-original footage of The Doors Video sales assured, but will it break on through to theatrical? Some industry office screener feedback less than stellar 1/17, 9p, Temple
The Cove Doc Comp Sub/
WM
8:1 Fascination with dolphins may propel sale of this dark tale 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
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

Day Four of Sundance: Spread-ing the Wealth as Sales Sail Into Sunday (news)

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Bitter cold may have finally settled on Park City, but film execs were basking in the afterglow of Senator’s $5 million Brooklyn’s Finest pickup Saturday night, and warmed by the heat that could make Ashton Kutcher’s sex comedy Spread one of the biggest sales of the festival. On the flip side, a gay panic comedy with unknowns, Humpday, was in talks to make a deal with (rumor had it) Sony Pictures Classics or another small-scale specialty distributor.

After fest upon fest of disappointing big-name projects, Spread almost seemed too good to be true: a Sundance comedy with name actors (and nudity!) that seemed to live up to its commercial promise. Kutcher plays a wannabe gigolo with a variety of clients who seemingly meets his match (Anne Heche). The very indie director David Mackenzie (Young Adam) delivered a less-than-indie movie, and while Sundance purists could balk, in this economy it was cause for celebration. Any number of new distributors (Summit, Senator, Overture) looking for mainstream films on the cheap would be a good fit.
William Morris Independent’s Cassian Elwes, whose company co-repped the Finest sale with CAA, said “we were very conscious about getting our sale done within 24 hours of its premiere,” in part to give the market a much-needed psychological boost. The unfinished film was rushed into Sundance because the sellers didn’t want to wait until Cannes, he said, and to capitalize on having many key buyers assembled together. Senator president Mark Urman tracked down Elwes’ hotel room Friday night and knocked on his door at 2am, convincing sellers his new distribution firm was right for the film.

While it’s too early for buyers to be singing Happy Days are Here Again, the sale of Finest (despite some harsh criticism) and the appeal of Spread gives hope that the Jim Carrey/Ewan McGregor gay prison love comedy “I Love You Phillip Morris,” will live up to the same commercial expectations, even if it needs a little tweaking in the edit room. (Late-night Lil’ Wayne doc The Carter may also benefit from the up-with-stars mood). But even before the Sunday night Eccles premiere of Morris, buyers will have a host of films to scout.

An Education, Arlen Faber and World’s Greatest Dad are just some of the films showing promise. Check out the full list at the 10 Days of Sundance Sales Chart, and check it again late, late Sunday night to see which films beat the odds to score a sale.

Sundance Sales Chart Day Three

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

by Gregg Goldstein

Film Section Sales
Co
Odds Pros Cons First
Screening
Today’s Top Five
I Love You Phillip Morris Prem CAA/
End
2:1 A Carrey/McGregor prison romance from writers of “Bad Santa” First-time helmers tackle subject matter that could go very wrong in the wrong hands. 1/18, 9:30p, Eccles
Push: Based on the
novel by Sapphire
DrComp Cin 2:1 Standing O for audacious portrait of abused girl; vivid performances by Mo’Nique and wacky supporting cast (Mariah Carey, Sherry Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz) How much of the rapturous response is the Sundance effect? And how do you sell it? 1/16, 8p, Racquet Club
Spread Prem CAA/
End
2:1 Gigolo satire from sexpert helmer of “Young Adam” How many good Ashton Kutcher or Anne Heche comedies can you name? 1/17, 9:15p, Eccles
Humpday DrComp Sub 3:1 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 some on 1/16, 12:15p, Eccles
The September Issue Doc Comp CAA 3:1 Rare inside look at the alleged inspiration for “The Devil Wear’s Prada,” Vogue’s Anna Wintour; great early buzz from SLC screening Sellers still have to convince buyers it’s as theatrical as its subject 1/16, 6:30p, Rose Wagner
Other Narratives In Play
An Education World DrComp CAA 4:1 ’60s coming-of-age romance from scribe Nick Hornby with Sarsgaard, Molina, Thompson and a breakout Mulligan Subject matter too familiar and trite if not done right 1/18, 3p, Egyptian
Arlen Faber Dr Comp CAA/
ICM
4:1 Daniels, Graham, Pucci in romantic tale of reclusive author Might be too navel-gazing or quirky for its own good 1/18, 5:15p, Racquet Club
Brooklyn’s Finest Prem WM/
CAA
4:1 Gere, Cheadle, Hawke, Snipes, Barkin in cop drama from “Training Day” director. Supposedly a few solid offers, and editing could continue Not the feel-good film of the year. Audience liked sections of it, hated others. 1/16, 6:15p. Eccles
Cold Souls DrComp Cin 4:1 Giamatti, Strathairn, Watson, Ambrose in a unique “metaphysical tragi-comedy” Yes. A metaphysical tragi-comedy 1/17, 5:15p, Racquet Club
The Greatest DrComp End/
CAA
4:1 Tearjerker with Brosnan and Sarandon called “as fine a debut as we can present” Son dies in car accident; it better be a satisfying cry 1/17, 3:15p, Eccles
In The Loop Premieres Prot 4:1 James Gandolfini in satire of war and politics could be a sleeper hit; word-of-mouth building from pre-fest screening Small, filled with unknown Brits and distinctly British humour 1/19, 11:15a, Yarrow
Motherhood Premieres End 4:1 Harried-mom comedy with Thurman, Edwards, Driver Urban anxiety can make for anxious audiences 1/21, 9:30p, Eccles
Paper Heart DrComp UTA 4:1 Two words: Michael Cera. Possibly offbeat hit Muted response to screener making rounds 1/17, 8p, Racquet Club
The Winning Season Premieres Cin 4:1 Female “Bad News Bears” centering on high school basketball team, Emma Roberts, late add like top-seller “Hamlet 2″ Sam Rockwell films sell big at Sundance, but haven’t performed. James Strouse a Sundance fave … but not for comedy 1/19, 8:30p, Library
World’s Greatest Dad Spectrum CAA/
Cin
4:1 Robin Williams in another dark comedy from “Sleeping Dogs Lie” writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait Williams sometimes a selling point, sometimes a liability 1/18, 5:30p, Library
Big Fan DrComp Andr
Hur
5:1 Good buzz on sports fanatic spoof directed by “The Wrestler” scribe … … who also wrote “The Onion Movie.” Star Patton Oswalt an unproven commodity 1/18, 8p, Racquet Club
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Dr Comp CAA 5:1 Hot star John Krasinski directing, starring and adapting from David Foster Wallace novel Adaptations are tricky, and not every sitcom star is Zach Braff. Slot after heated sales lineup weekend 1/19, 3:15p. Eccles
Endgame Prem End 5:1 Good cast (Hurt, Ejiofor) in South African apartheid thriller CNN currently chock full of other real-life political thrillers 1/18, 6:16p, 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
The Killing Room Mid CAA 5:1 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
Peter & Vandy DrComp End 5:1 Some good buzz behind Manhattan romance with Sundance “Teeth” award-winner Weixler Stage adaptations risk being stagey; Star Ritter must live down last year’s “Good Dick” 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? 1/18, 11:15a, Yarrow
Dare DrComp xCin 6:1 Sex-charged teen romance featuring Emmy Rossum Supporting cast (Gasteyer, Cumming, Bernhard) from many an indie stinker 1/19, 5:15p, Racquet Club
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
Amreeka Dr Comp WM 8:1 Sometimes humorous, very topical struggle of Palestinian mom on West Bank No stars, Iraq war backdrop … it better be great 1/17, 12:15p, Eccles
Black Dynamite Mid End 8:1 Blaxploitation satire with potential for cult following Too culty for its own good? 1/18, 11:30p, Library
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… …or extremely wrong one. Online trailer looks iffy; 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 Early buzz not looking good, but many have yet to weigh in 1/16, 3:15p, Eccles
The Vicious Kind Spectrum ICM 10:1 Tough portrait of emotionally damaged father See “Pros” 1/17, 8:30p, Library
Don’t Let Me Drown DrComp Loeb
Loeb
20:1 Latino high schoolers in post-9/11 romantic drama No stars, depressing premise 1/18, 12:15p, Eccles
Other Documentaries In Play
The Carter Midnight Cin 4:1 One of the hottest selling rappers in a hurting music biz, Lil’ Wayne Will the audience for this film go to the theater or wait for DVD? 1/17, Midnight Eccles
When You’re Strange Doc Comp Sub/
Cin
6:1 Indie vet Tom DiCillo unveils all-original footage of The Doors Video sales assured, but will it break on through to theatrical? Some industry office screener feedback less than stellar 1/17, 9p, Temple
Good Hair Doc Comp ICM 5:1 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. Interest in niche topic could be hair today, gone tomorrow 1/18, 9p, Temple
Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy Spectrum WM 5:1 Robert Townsend interviews a Who’s Who of top comedians. The next Kings of Comedy? Maybe be too long on analysis, too short on laughs 1/17, 5:30p, Prospector
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 Still has to show its theatrical pull 1/16, 2:30p, Library
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 boxoffice 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
The Cove Doc Comp Sub/
WM
8:1 Fascination with dolphins may propel sale of this dark tale 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
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
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

Sundance Sales Chart Day Two

Friday, January 16th, 2009

by Gregg Goldstein

Film Section Sales
Co
Odds Pros Cons First
Screening
Today’s Top Five
Brooklyn’s Finest Prem WM/
CAA
2:1 Gere, Cheadle, Hawke, Snipes, Barkin and “Training Day” director doing what they’ve done best: cop drama With all these surefire elements, why does it need a Sundance rampup to sell? 1/16, 6:15p. Eccles
I Love You Phillip Morris Prem CAA/
End
2:1 A Carrey/McGregor prison romance from writers of “Bad Santa” First-time helmers tackle subject matter that could go very wrong in the wrong hands. 1/18, 9:30p, Eccles
Push: Based on the
novel by Sapphire
DrComp Cin 4:1 Audacious portrait of abused girl; vivid performances by Mo’Nique and wacky supporting cast (Mariah Carey, Sherry Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz) From the man who brought you “Shadowboxer”; could be too over the top 1/16, 8p, Racquet Club
Spread Prem CAA/
End
2:1 Gigolo satire from sexpert helmer of “Young Adam” How many good Ashton Kutcher or Anne Heche comedies can you name? 1/17, 9:15p, Eccles
The Winning Season Premieres Cin 4:1 Female “Bad News Bears” centering on high school basketball team, Emma Roberts, late add like top-seller “Hamlet 2″ Sam Rockwell films sell big at Sundance, but haven’t performed. James Strouse a Sundance fave … but not for comedy 1/19, 8:30p, Library
Other Narratives In Play
An Education World DrComp CAA 4:1 ’60s coming-of-age romance from scribe Nick Hornby with Sarsgaard, Molina, Thompson and a breakout Mulligan Subject matter too familiar and trite if not done right 1/18, 3p, Egyptian
Arlen Faber Dr Comp CAA/
ICM
4:1 Daniels, Graham, Pucci in romantic tale of reclusive author Might be too navel-gazing or quirky for its own good 1/18, 5:15p, Racquet Club
Cold Souls DrComp Cin 4:1 Giamatti, Strathairn, Watson, Ambrose in a unique “metaphysical tragi-comedy” Yes. A metaphysical tragi-comedy 1/17, 5:15p, Racquet Club
The Greatest DrComp End/
CAA
4:1 Tearjerker with Brosnan and Sarandon called “as fine a debut as we can present” Son dies in car accident, for those who didn’t get their fill in “Reservation Road” 1/17, 3:15p, Eccles
In The Loop Premieres Prot 4:1 James Gandolfini in satire of war and politics could be a sleeper hit Small, filled with unknown Brits and distinctly British humour 1/19, 11:15a, Yarrow
Motherhood Premieres End 4:1 Harried-mom comedy with Thurman, Edwards, Driver Urban anxiety can make for anxious audiences 1/21, 9:30p, Eccles
Paper Heart DrComp UTA 4:1 Two words: Michael Cera. Possibly offbeat hit Muted response to screener making rounds 1/17, 8p, Racquet Club
World’s Greatest Dad Spectrum CAA/
Cin
4:1 Robin Williams in another dark comedy from “Sleeping Dogs Lie” writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait Williams sometimes a selling point, sometimes a liability 1/18, 5:30p, Library
Big Fan DrComp Andr
Hur
5:1 Good buzz on sports fanatic spoof directed by “The Wrestler” scribe … … who also wrote “The Onion Movie.” Star Patton Oswalt an unproven commodity 1/18, 8p, Racquet Club
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Dr Comp CAA 5:1 Hot star John Krasinski directing, starring and adapting from David Foster Wallace novel Adaptations are tricky, and not every sitcom star is Zach Braff. Slot after heated sales lineup weekend 1/19, 3:15p. Eccles
Endgame Prem End 5:1 Good cast (Hurt, Ejiofor) in South African apartheid thriller CNN currently chock full of other real-life political thrillers 1/18, 6:16p, 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
Helen Spectrum Little 5:1 Ashley Judd sinks her teeth into bipolar role Mental illness, depression… Lifetime movie? 1/16, 8:45, Library
Humpday DrComp Sub 5:1 Straight best buds link for gay porn; getting great buzz Will need great buzz to overcome no stars, and a premise not for the squeamish 1/16, 12:15p, Eccles
The Killing Room Mid CAA 5:1 Psychological thriller with compelling premise and solid indie cast Possibly just a pretentious “Saw” 1/16, 11:30p, Prospector
Peter & Vandy DrComp End 5:1 Some good buzz behind Manhattan romance with Sundance “Teeth” award-winner Weixler Stage adaptations risk being stagey; Star Ritter must live down last year’s “Good Dick” 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? 1/18, 11:15a, Yarrow
Dare DrComp xCin 6:1 Sex-charged teen romance featuring Emmy Rossum Supporting cast (Gasteyer, Cumming, Bernhard) from many an indie stinker 1/19, 5:15p, Racquet Club
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
Amreeka Dr Comp WM 8:1 Sometimes humorous, very topical struggle of Palestinian mom on West Bank No stars, Iraq war backdrop … it better be great 1/17, 12:15p, Eccles
Black Dynamite Mid End 8:1 Blaxploitation satire with potential for cult following Too culty for its own good? 1/18, 11:30p, Library
The Missing Person Spectrum Visit 8:1 Contemporary film noir with welcome return of Amy Ryan and breakout star Michael Shannon Too arty for its own good? 1/16, 6p. 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… …or extremely wrong one. Online trailer looks iffy; 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 Virtually all unknown cast; tough sell 1/16, 3:15p, Eccles
The Vicious Kind Spectrum ICM 10:1 Tough portrait of emotionally damaged father See “Pros” 1/17, 8:30p, Library
Don’t Let Me Drown DrComp Loeb
Loeb
20:1 Latino high schoolers in post-9/11 romantic drama No stars, depressing premise 1/18, 12:15p, Eccles
Other Documentaries In Play
The Carter Midnight Cin 4:1 One of the hottest selling rappers in a hurting music biz, Lil’ Wayne Will the audience for this film go to the theater or wait for DVD? 1/17, Midnight Eccles
When You’re Strange Doc Comp Sub/
Cin
4:1 Indie vet Tom DiCillo unveils all-original footage of The Doors Video sales assured, but will it break on through to theatrical? 1/17, 9p, Temple
Good Hair Doc Comp ICM 5:1 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. Interest in niche topic could be hair today, gone tomorrow 1/18, 9p, Temple
The September Issue Doc Comp CAA 5:1 Rare inside look at the alleged inspiration for “The Devil Wear’s Prada,” Vogue’s Anna Wintour Won’t be in vogue if it’s as cold as its subject 1/16, 6:30p, Rose Wagner
Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy Spectrum WM 5:1 Robert Townsend interviews a Who’s Who of top comedians. The next Kings of Comedy? Maybe be too long on analysis, too short on laughs 1/17, 5:30p, Prospector
Passing Strange Spectrum: Docu Spotlight End 6:1 Spike Lee filmed this unconventional, Tony-nominated musical, and both names will help sell the project Must prove worthy of life beyond PBS 1/16, 2:30p, Library
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 boxoffice 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
The Cove Doc Comp Sub/
WM
8:1 Fascination with dolphins may propel sale of this dark tale 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
Art & Copy Doc Comp Sub 10:1 Ad industry study getting good word of mouth Risks being too academic 1/16, 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” Drowned by competition? 1/16, 3:15p, HV4

Sundance ’09 Opener By Gregg Goldstein (news)

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

By Gregg Goldstein
As the global economy teeters on the edge of the abyss, the parka-clad indie film community gathers once again in Park City for its annual ritual of celebrating (and, God willing, buying and selling) movies.
The on-the-record buzz phrase you most often hear is “cautiously optimistic,” with an emphasis on caution. Dig a bit deeper, however, and the caution has an edge of panic.
“There’s a lot of fear out there,” says Cinetic Media founder John Sloss. While pointing to several Fall boxoffice successes indicating health in the specialty film arena, the man who helped make Sundance Sundance, is tellingly cutting his traditionally huge Cinetic Media slate from 19 films last year to 10 this year, including the late-added Plum Pictures comedy “The Winning Season” starring Sam Rockwell and Emma Roberts. “We believe in the quality of what we’re taking, [but] we’re taking fewer films for passion. There are fewer buyers, and it came down to the number of available films we thought could do business.” Both Sloss and another seller with several high profile, star-laden films to brag about seemed genuinely uncertain how this year’s sales would be.

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