2ND UPDATE, MONDAY, 9:42 PM: Check out my new story here on the details Me And Earl And The Dying Girl deal pairing Fox Searchlight and Indian Paintbrush. It turns out i idn’t set the fest record but could have an even bigger overall upside for the participants.
UPDATE, MONDAY, 10:51 AM: Fox Searchlight and Indian Paintbrush are teaming for worldwide rights on Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, and like I said last night this is a blockbuster record deal for $12 million. It also confirms my original posit that this Sundance Film Festival is set to be a sellers’ market, with big deals dropping all over Park City.
A 2015 release is planned for the film, the studio said today in confirming the deal. The film is directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon from the Black List screenplay by Jesse Andrews, adapted from his eponymous novel.
“We are so thrilled to be a part of this film – the movie completely floored us and stole our hearts,” said Searchlight presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula. “The response at the festival has been extraordinary. The performances are honest and relatable and the film is smart, funny and original.
Searchlight and Indian Paintbrush most recently teamed on Wes Anderson’s Best Picture Oscar nominee The Grand Budapest Hotel, one of the pic’s nine noms.
See the full release below after my original break.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, SUNDAY, 8:55 PM: A precedent-setting deal will close tonight for Me And Earl And The Dying Girl. I hear bidding has reached $12 million for worldwide rights to the Alfonso Gomez-Rejon-directed drama, which debuted in the U.S. Dramatic Competition on Sunday at the Eccles. I’m hearing Fox Searchlight is in the lead but there are still other bidders including Lionsgate and Focus Features. These talks could go late and they still have to work out marketing and other commitment details.
If the deal makes, the total would overtake the previous Sundance sales record of around $10 million, paid for several films including Spitfire Grill, The Way Way Back, Little Miss Sunshine and Hamlet 2.
Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton and Molly Shannon star in the pic, written by Jesse Andrews. Jeremy Dawson and Dan Fogelman produced it. The plot follows Greg, who is coasting through senior year of high school as anonymously as possible, avoiding social interactions like the plague while secretly making spirited, bizarre films with Earl, his only friend. But both his anonymity and friendship threaten to unravel when his mother forces him to befriend a classmate with leukemia.
WME is brokering the deal for the film.
Here’s the full release:
PARK CITY, UT January 26, 2015 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has partnered with Indian Paintbrush for worldwide distribution on the poignant coming of age story ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, which received a standing ovation following its Sundance Film Festival debut. The film is directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon from the Black List screenplay by Jesse Andrews, adapted from his eponymous novel. The film stars Thomas Mann, Olivia Cook, R.J. Cyler with Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal and Connie Britton. The film is produced by Steven Rales, Dan Fogelman and Jeremy Dawson with Nora Skinner as executive producer. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and will be released in 2015.
“We are so thrilled to be a part of this film – the movie completely floored us and stole our hearts. The response at the festival has been extraordinary. The performances are honest and relatable and the film is smart, funny and original,” said Gilula and Utley.
“On behalf of the filmmaking team, we are thrilled to be partnering with Fox Searchlight. Steve, Nancy and the team have such a great emotional connection to our movie and we are confident our film is in the best hands moving forward,” said producers Rales, Fogelman and Dawson.
“For a film that was such a personal labor of love, I am delighted to find partners who have embraced the film which such enthusiasm,” said director Gomez-Rejon.
In ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, Thomas Mann plays Greg Gaines, an awkward high school senior whose mom forces him to spend time with Rachel – a girl in his class (Olivia Cooke) whom he hasn’t spoken to since kindergarten – who was just diagnosed with cancer.
The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Megan O’Brien, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions Tony Safford, and Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Ray Strache, and Indian Paintbrush’s Peter McPartlin and Deborah Wettstein, who represented the filmmakers, and Alexis Garcia from WME who represented the film.