SUNDANCE BUSINESS AT THE MIDPOINT
It happened maybe a day later than last year, but the acquisitions floodgates have opened a bit at the Sundance Film Festival. But it wasn’t the typical first-weekend films that enthused distributors. In Variety, Ann Thompson is reporting that Focus Features has bought Andrew Fleming’s Hamlet 2, which debuted at the unsexy time of Monday at 5:30 in a deal she pegs at over $10 million for worldwide rights. The film stars Steve Coogan as an English teacher who writes a sequel to Shakespeare’s play in other to rescue the school’s theater department. Perhaps more significantly, the film is directed by an established director, Andrew Fleming (whose Dick is one my favorite underrated comedies) and scripted by South Park writer/producer Pam Brady. The deal is Focus’s first film festival acquisition in quite a while, and it comes on the day that the company’s Atonement received a Best Picture Oscar nom.
Thompson and Sharon Swart have two other announcements: Fox Searchlight has bought Clark Gregg’s debut feature Choke for a reported $5 million (for the world minus a few territories) and Overture Films, whose first release, Mad Money, debuted this past weekend, has picked up U.S. rights to Mark Pellington’s Henry Poole is Here, which stars Luke Wilson and Radha Mitchell, for a reported $3.5 million