Sunday, January 28, 2007
It's a wrap from Sundance
There was controversy ("Hounddog," anyone?). There were celebrities (Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Bacon, Mandy Moore, Antonio Banderas, Laura Linney to name a few). There were swag suites and late-night parties for the stars (yes, celebs are spoiled beyond belief during Sundance if they choose to accept what's offered to them).

And, quite importantly ... there were film acquisitions.

That means a number of Sundance films, which didn't have distributors prior to the festival, now have studios to back them. (CNN.com's Tom Charity picked some of his Sundance notables -- not all of which have deals, yet.) Here are some of the movies that will be making their way into a theater near you:

"Waitress" -- Bought by Fox Searchlight for $4 million. Written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly, "Waitress" follows Jenna (Keri Russell), a poor southern woman who is pregnant and stuck in a bad marriage. She creates pies and names them, the titles reflecting what is happening in her life. Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto and Andy Griffith co-star.

"Grace Is Gone" -- John Cusack stars as a husband and father whose wife is killed in the Iraq war. Purchased by the Weinstein Co. for $4 million.

"Dedication" -- Mandy Moore and Billy Crudup star in this romantic comedy directed by Justin Theroux. Another Weinstein Co. buy at $4 million.

"Son of Rambow" -- British comedy about a boy's obsession with "First Blood." In a pricey deal, Paramount Vantage picked it up for $7 million.

"La Misma Luna" -- A story that addresses illegal immigration and the bond a mother and child have despite physical separation. Fox Searchlight and Weinstein partnered for this winning bid of $5 million.

"Teeth" -- In another business pairing, Weinstein joined Lionsgate to buy "Teeth," a horror comedy about a woman who has teeth in an unusual place, for $2.5 million.

"Joshua" -- Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, and Jacob Kogan star in this psychological thriller about a seemingly well-to-do family with everything going for them, until their world is turned upside down. Is it sibling rivalry or something more sinister? Fox Searchlight snapped this one up for $3.7 million.

"My Kid Could Paint That" -- A documentary about a child art prodigy some compared to Pollock, even Picasso ... while others said it was all an elaborate hoax. It was snagged by Sony Classics for $1.8 million.

Thirteen films total have been sold as of this writing, just before festival's end, with many more expected to sell over time. Who knows? One of these movies could be the next "Little Miss Sunshine," a film that premiered at Sundance in 2006 (with many critics asking, Little Miss Who?) and is now nominated for four Academy Awards, including best picture.

Hope you enjoyed Sundance '07. My team and I have packed up our parkas and headed out of town after a very rewarding (and exhausting) week. 'Til next year!
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