Sundance round-up: 'Arbitrage', 'Liberal Arts', 'Red Lights', 'Robot & Frank' acquire distribution
A quartet of narrative acquisition deals were made at Sundance today, with the romantic dramedy "Liberal Arts", the paranormal thriller "Red Lights", the futuristic buddy comedy "Robot & Frank" and the thriller "Arbitrage" all acquiring distribution. So where to begin? Let's start with the biggest deal first and work our way down, shall we?
The biggest pick-up today - monetarily, anyway - was "Red Lights" (review), which stars Robert De Niro as a blind psychic being investigated by a college professor (Sigourney Wevaer) and her assistant (Cillian Murphy), a pair whose M.O. is debunking paranormal phenomena. U.S. rights to the film, which co-stars Elizabeth Olsen and Joely Richardson, were acquired by Millenium Entertainment for just under $4 million, according to The Wrap. It was directed by Rodrigo Cortes, whose last film was the little-seen Sundance darling "Buried" starring Ryan Reynolds.
Next up is "Arbitrage" (review), a thriller about a crooked hedge-fund magnate (Richard Gere) who makes an "unexpected, bloody error" whilst attempting to unload his trading empire before the enormous fraud he's perpetrated comes to light. That film was directed by Nicholas Jarecki in his narrative feature film debut (he was previously best known for writing the script for the critically-panned 2009 Bret Easton Ellis adaptation "The Informers"). U.S. rights were bought for $2.5 million by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions. The film also stars Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling and Nate Parker. As indicated by Deadline, the distributors are planning a simultaneous theatrical and VOD release for the film.
"Robot & Frank", meanwhile, was picked up by Sony Worldwide Acquisitions and Samuel Goldwyn for more than $2 million. The two distributors jointly bought distribution rights to North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, according to Deadline. The film takes place in the near-future and stars Frank Langella as a retired thief whose adult children buy him a robot to help him function in his old age. He then uses the robot as a means to both return to his old criminal ways and capture the romantic attentions of a local librarian (Susan Sarandon). Also starring Liv Tyler, James Marsden, Peter Sarsgaard, Jeremy Sisto and Jeremy Strong, the film was directed by Jacke Schreier in his feature-length helming debut.
Last but not least we have "Liberal Arts", which was written and directed by "How I Met Your Mother" actor Josh Radnor (who won the Audience Award at Sundance 2010 for his dramedy "happythankyoumoreplease"). Radnor also stars in the film, as a 35-year-old man who falls in love with a 19-year-old college student (Elizabeth Olsen) during a trip he takes to attend his former professor's retirement dinner. The film was bought by IFC Films for right around $1 million. It also stars Richard Jenkins, Zac Efron, Allison Janney and Elizabeth Reaser.
Thoughts? Opinions? Sound off in the comments below!
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1935 | Comedy | NRSummary: While filling in for injured supersleuth Bulldog Drummond (Atholl Fleming), world-class cricket player Jack Pennington (Jack Hulbert) attempts to foil a criminal mastermind's (Ralph Richardson) impending heist that's targeting a valuable jewel necklace held within the British Museum. This comedic...Director: Walter Forde
Cast: Jack Hulbert, Fay Wray, Ralph Richardson, Claude Hulbert
1975 | Comedy | TV-14Summary: Since 1975 the NBC variety show has highlighted the best new comic talent in the US, along with every variety of musical performance and consistently hilarious characters and sketch comedy concepts.Director: Lorne Michaels (creator)
Cast: Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Jane Curtin, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Hader, Phil Hartman, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig
2014 | Animation | PGSummary: Surly, a curmudgeon, independent squirrel is banished from his park and forced to survive in the city. Lucky for him, he stumbles on the one thing that may be able to save his life, and the rest of park community, as they gear up for winter - Maury's Nut Store.Director: Peter Lepeniotis
Cast: Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson
1937 | Drama | NRSummary: Cocky young street kid worships his father, a sleazy political operative.Director: William Nigh
Cast: Jackie Cooper, Maureen O'Connor, Kathleen Burke, Robert Emmett O'Connor
1990 | Documentary | NRSummary: Paris Is Burning is a 1990 documentary (directeor Jennie Livingston) filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, chronicling the ball culture of New York City and the poor, African American and Latino gay and transgendered community involved in it. Many consider Paris Is Burning to be an invaluable document...Director: Jennie Livingston
Cast: Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, Willi Ninja, Octavia St. Laurent
1946 | Drama | NRSummary: A widower gives his daughter Anne a colt, which she names Black Beauty, so that she may learn to care for herself as she cares for the horse.Director: Max Nosseck
Cast: Mona Freeman, Richard Denning, Evelyn Ankers
1966 | Drama | NRSummary: Two women, an actress who can’t (or won’t) speak and the nurse who cares for her, retreat to a seaside cottage where their relationship grows strangely intimate in Ingmar Bergman’s dramatically impressive film.Director: Ingmar Bergman
Cast: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook
2014 | Animation | GSummary: When a misunderstood dust-keeper fairy named Zarina steals Pixie Hollow's all-important Blue Pixie Dust and flies away to join forces with the pirates of Skull Rock, Tinker Bell and her fairy friends must embark on the adventure of a lifetime to return it to its rightful place.Director: Peggy Holmes
Cast: Mae Whitman, Tom Hiddleston, Christina Hendricks, Pamela Adlon
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