EXCLUSIVE! 1 AM UPDATE: I was just told that Brett Ratner is saying that he and Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh have made an offer for Catfish “with no need for test screenings”. This is getting interesting!
EXCLUSIVE! 8:30 PM: Catfish was the Sundance offering widely thought to have the most commercial potential of any of this year’s films even though it didn’t win any awards. But the documentary was a hit with audiences there, as Mike Fleming previously reported, and got a resounding ovation for the cyber romance that develops between a 24-year old photographer and the sister of a youth who takes an interest in his work. Now I’ve learned that major Paramount player JJ Abrams and up-and-coming Paramount player Jason Blum are both interested in having the studio release the film. No deal — yet.
But, towards that end, I’ve also confirmed that Paramount is having a test screening on the lot tomorrow to see how Catfish played before an audience. Kudos to two websites, FirstShowing.net and Cinematical.com who first found out about the test screening because of the Twitter buzz. According to FirstShowing, the invite “specifically mentions that attendees should have seen and enjoyed films like Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity, Slumdog Millionaire, or An Inconvenient Truth. Is it a coincidence that they just named three of Paramount’s biggest indie successes in the last few years?” You think? JJ was the producer on Cloverfield, and Blum on Paranormal Activity.