EXCLUSIVE: Open Road Films has acquired U.S. rights to Midnight Sun, a Scott Speer-directed romantic drama that stars Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Rob Riggle and Quinn Shephard. Open Road committed a seven-figure minimum guarantee and a P&A commitment for a wide release. The distributor has set a wide release for July 14, 2017.
The romantic drama follows 17-year-old Katie Price (Thorne), sheltered since childhood with a life-threatening sensitivity to sunlight. Katie’s world opens up after dark when she ventures out to play her guitar for travelers. One night, she meets Charlie (Schwarzenegger), whom she has secretly admired for years. She hides her condition from him, and the two embark on a uniquely powerful romance that takes place over the summer.
The picture wasn’t on everyone’s radar, and the deal was done remarkably fast, compared to the time it took to make most deals at Toronto. WME Global and the producer-financier Boies/Schiller set it up as a recruited screening days ago at The Grove in Los Angeles, and it fit nicely between Toronto and AFM — a youth-oriented film with a feeling of mortality, in the vein of The Fault In Our Stars. Open Road moved aggressively to buy it.
The picture is based on the Japanese film Taiyo No Uta, and Eric Kirsten wrote the script. John Rickard, Zack Schiller and Jen Gatien are producers. David Boies, James McGough, Alan Ou, Hiroki Shirota and Speer are executive producers. Katie Silberman and Devin Andre are co-producers. Boies/Schiller financed and produced the film alongside Rickard’s Wrigley Pictures. David Garrett’s Mister Smith Entertainment is handling international sales.
Open Road confirmed the deal. “We were swept off our feet by this romantic film,” Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg said. “The movie had men and women – young and old – in tears, and we could tell immediately how strongly this story, and the fantastic performances by leads Bella and Patrick, would resonate with audiences of all ages.”
Said Schiller: “John developed an incredibly powerful script that immediately spoke to both of us, and we knew that we had to make this film. Bella, Patrick and Rob deliver outstanding performances and Open Road is the perfect home for this project. It’s clear that they are as passionate about this movie as we are.”
Ortenberg negotiated for Open Road along with Elliott Kleinberg and newly minted acquisitions exec Lejo Pet. Thorne is repped by CAA and Thor Bradwell at Thirty Three Management, Schwarzenegger by Management 360, and Riggle by WME and Principato Young. Speer is with WME and Principato Young. WME Global and Sky Moore at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP represented Boies/Schiller in the sale.