Julianne Moore and Annette Bening's 'The Kids Are All Right' goes to Focus
Acclaimed comedy drew bidding war between Summit and Focus
The second big acquisition of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival occurred today as Focus Features acquired U.S. rights to Lisa Cholodenko's acclaimed dramedy "The Kids Are All Right" for reportedly just under $5 million.
Focus and Summit were the most intense bidders for the picture which centers on a Los Angeles lesbian couple (Annette Bening and Julian Moore) dealing with their children's introduction to their sperm donor, aka biological father (Mark Ruffalo). The film drew raves after its Monday night screening and could be a strong commercial and awards season player depending on when Focus decides to release it.
While Summit was extremely interested in the film it appears they weren't willing to go as high as Focus to win the rights. Additionally, Focus has had a tremendous amount of success with gay-themed films such as "Brokeback Mountain" and "Milk" which give them insight how to market it broadly. That was no doubt a reassurance to the producers and the filmmakers that they would be in good hands. Other reported suitors included Fox Searchlight, The Weinstein Company and Sony Pictures Classics.
It should be noted Focus hasn't picked up any films at Sundance since they paid $10 million for "Hamlet 2" in 2008. That film was a commercial disappointment and the mini-major has been very careful on the festival circuit since then. Considering the company's weak 2009 (where only "Coraline" was a true break out hit), taking a chance on "Kids" may have been just what the NBCUni division ordered.
Other films still working on closing deals include "Catfish," "HappyThankYouMorePlease," "The Company Men," "The Tillman Story," "Splice" and "Winter's Bone." The first big deal of the festival occurred when Lionsgate bought the Ryan Reynolds thriller "Buried" for a little over $3 million on Sunday.
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