PREVIOUS, FEBRUARY 24 PM: Fox Searchlight will release its big Sundance Film Festival acquisition Me And Earl And The Dying Girl on July 1 on a limited platform basis, the studio just announced. This is the Alfonso Gomez-Rejon-directed drama that took Park City by storm winning the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for best U.S. Dramatic Feature last month.
Searchlight teamed with longtime partner Indian Paintbrush — which produced and developed Me And Earl — after a bidding war that escalated to what would have been a Sundance-record $12 million minimum guarantee for worldwide rights. In the final deal, Searchlight and Paintbrush principals went for the long play as partners and co-financiers involving a lower than usual distribution fee and higher-than-average position on video on a global level. If the film turns in an outsized gross performance, Paintbrush stands to make a lot more than $12 million.
Fox Searchlight has distributed the past two Best Picture Oscar winners in 12 Years A Slave and then Birdman on Sunday, and it last teamed with Paintbrush last on another multiple Oscar winner this year in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Some insiders think Me And Earl can be one of those kinds of plays after its Sundance sweep (just like another Oscar Best Pictures nominee, Whiplash, the year before) and now is set up for an awards-season run.
From the Black List script by Jesse Andrews based on his novel, the plot follows Greg (Thomas Mann), 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. RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton and Molly Shannon co-star. Jeremy Dawson and Dan Fogelman produced it along with Indian Paintbrush’s Steven Rales.