EXCLUSIVE: In the biggest deal by far so far here at the Sundance Film Festival, Open Road Films and Sony Pictures have won a pitched bidding battle for the Rick Famuyiwa-directed Dope. The deal is worth $7 million in minimum guarantee, with a $15 million P&A. This brought multiple bidders including The Weinstein Company, A24 and Fox Searchlight, and Focus, and the auction ran through the night and all day today.
Open Road releases domestically, and Sony releases internationally. WME Global is papering the deal right now after working nonstop with Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg, Jason Cassidy and Peter Lawson.
This might well open the floodgates on sales because so many distributors wanted this film and now will attend to other titles up for grabs. The deal amount surpasses the $3 million that Relativity paid for The Bronze and the same amount IFC paid for The D Train. Fox Searchlight paid $6.5 million for Noah Baumbach’s Mistress America, but that was a sight-unseen pre-buy made before the festival began.
Pic is the humorous coming-of-age story of a high school trio in Los Angeles. Three geeks whose obsession with punk rock and 1990s hip-hop culture make them easy pickings for the jocks and gangbangers in their tough neighborhood. A chance invite to an underground party leaves Malcolm (Shameik Moore) with a stash of Ecstasy that will either destroy the Ivy League college aspirations of the friends, or lead them to be re-identified, finally, as being dope. That includes winning the attention of Nakia (Zoe Kravitz) when their punk rock video blows up on YouTube.
Fumuyiwa, who wrote the script, previously directed The Wood. Dope also stars Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Kiersey Clemons, Black Anderson, and A$AP Rocky. The film made its premiere in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category yesterday at the Library.
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