UPDATE: Well, the first major deal made on the ground at Sundance is officially in the books. Relativity paid around $3 million for U.S. rights to the opening night film The Bronze, following an all-night negotiation. As I reported earlier, there’s a nice screen commitment and P&A. While Rauch is practically unrecognizable from her sweet Big Bang Theory persona–and man, she’s got a potty mouth–there is an opportunity to carve out a new identity for a talented performer who co-wrote the script with husband Winston Rauch. A little editing here or there should sharpen a comedy which has enough crazy funny moments to build some buzz. Rauch has the chance to build a profile the way that former Saturday Night Live cast member Jenny Slate was able to do last year with Obvious Child, the Gillian Robespierre scripted and directed comedy that incorporated Slate’s personality and her edgy stand up comedy style into a charming film that came out of Sundance with an A24 distribution deal. Bryan Buckley directed The Bronze, which has strong performances by Gary Cole, Thomas Middleditch, Sebastian Stan (this guy has breakout potential beyond his Winter Soldier character in Captain America), Haley Lu Richardson and Cecily Strong. Stephanie Langhoff produced. “The Bronze fits into Sundance’s long history of discovering new and unique comedic talent that can find its way to a broader audience,” said Relativity president Tucker Tooley. “The filmmakers did an incredible job creating a wholly unique identity for the film which we’re certain will have audiences laughing and talking for a long time. We are so excited to be part of bringing The Bronze to a larger audience.”
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 8:34 am: Relativity is in the lead on a deal in the $3 million range for U.S. rights to The Bronze, the Bryan Buckley-directed movie co-written and starring The Big Bang Theory’s Melissa Rauch. Dealing is going on. A source close to the studio said they want to maintain max flexibility on release, but the filmmakers want a 600 screen commitment with P&A. WME Global is selling. Pic is a raucous laffer in which Rauch plays a former bronze medal-winning Olympic gymnast whose folk status is waning in her hometown when a young gymnast threatens to supplant her legacy. It’s raucously funny, there is an outrageous sex scene everyone’s talking about, between two gymnasts that fulfills every thing you might have imagined when you wonder what a sex encounter might be like with limberness. Why, they even nailed the dismount! Will tell you more when I know it. This was one of several movies in negotiations that caused reps to burn the midnight oil. I expect several other deals to wrap as early as today before tonight brings a new batch of films that includes Sleeping With Other People, Leslye Headland’s follow up to Bachelorette.