EXCLUSIVE: It’s been weeks since the Sundance Film Festival. But Bob Berney’s Apparition has teamed with the Sony Worldwide Acquisitions Group to acquire domestic distribution rights to Welcome to the Rileys, the Jake Scott-directed Ken Hixon-written drama that stars James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, and Melissa Leo. Apparition is eyeing a fall distribution slot. I’m told the deal was 7 figures with a P&A commitment.
The Scott Free/Argonaut-produced film made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January and created strong buzz, particularly among fans of Twilight star Stewart. Some of them sent email missives to distribution executives, urging them to make a deal and get the film into theaters. The UTA Independent Film Group repped the film.
Gandolfini and Leo play a couple whose marriage becomes a wreck following the death of their teenage daughter. On a business trip to New Orleans, the husband finds himself drawn to an underage prostitute, insinuating himself as her platonic guardian. Ridley and Tony Scott, Scott Free president Michael Costigan, Steve Zaillian, Giovanni Agnelli and Scott Bloom are on its producing roster.
It was the second significant deal for a Sundance film made by UTA Independent after the festival ended. The first was a Sony Pictures Classics acquisition of U.S. and Latin American rights to Animal Kingdom, the David Michod-directed film that won the fest’s World Cinema Jury Prize.
UTA Independent also brokered a distribution deal for the Ryan Reynolds film Buried, with Lionsgate closing the deal hours after the film’s midnight premiere.