First, the good news: Lionsgate just bought this year’s big Sundance Film Festival winner Push: Based On The Novel by Sapphire with no less luminaries than Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry using their friendship and production companies to get behind the pic. Perry, as you know, has a giant overall deal at the mini-major. Push, which starred Mo’Nique (who was honored with a Special Jury Prize for acting) and Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz as well as unknowns, won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Awards in the U.S. Dramatic Competition for only the 3rd time in the festival history. Push was directed by Lee Daniels who produced Monsters Ball for Lionsgate.
Now for the bad news: I’m told that the first Sundance Film Festival pickup, a deal for Senator Distribution to buy Antoine Fuqua’s Brooklyn’s Finest from Nu Image, may fall through. The terms for the film starring Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Wesley Snipes and Ellen Barkin were a multi-million-dollar advance plus a double-digit P&A commitment. Now film financing types opine to me that Senator may not have the money to acquire the film and pay for the minimum marketing. “It wouldn’t surprise me if the deal aborts,” one of my sources informs. “But this may take a while to gestate.” Predictions are that Nu Image is going to wait for the edit changes to the movie (the controversial ending is definitely going to be reworked) while still working with Senator — but then resell the movie to a third party. Or it could be absorbed by Sony Pictures’ Worldwide Distribution Group.