EXCLUSIVE: STX has won U.S. rights to comedy Poms, starring Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver and Pam Grier, following a competitive multi-day auction. The deal is understood to be in the $8-9M range, making it the biggest deal so far at this year’s AFM.
Keaton plays a woman who moves into a retirement home and recruits the residents there to form a cheerleading squad. Zara Hayes directs. Currently in post-production, a wide theatrical release is expected next year. The three minutes of footage showing here and the acclaimed cast clearly convinced buyers of its solid grey-pound-crossover potential. MGM and Lionsgate were also understood to be in the frame for this one.
This is the second year in a row that a Keaton comedy targeted at a mature audience has fired up AFM distributors. Last year, Keaton-starrer Book Club proved to be the hot ticket in Santa Monica, selling for $10M to Paramount. That film has taken around $90M worldwide. While it used to be that action stars were the ones driving the deals at AFM, Oscar-winner Keaton is once again at the center of the market’s biggest deal to date. Poms even has one of the Book Club producers aboard: Alex Saks. Also starring are Celia Weston, Phyllis Somerville, Alisha Boe, Charlie Tahan, Bruce McGill, and Rhea Perlman.
Endeavor Content is selling along with eOne’s Sierra/Affinity, which is producing and financing. Sierra and STX most recently teamed up on Jessica Chastain starrer Molly’s Game, which found favour with critics and took $60M global.
Hayes, best known for her documentary The Battle Of The Sexes, directs from a script written by Shane Atkinson based on a story by Hayes and Atkinson. Producing are Kelly McCormick (Atomic Blonde); Alex Saks (Book Club); Mad as Birds Films’ Andy Evans, Ade Shannon, Celyn Jones, and Sean Marley; and Rose Pictures’ Rose Ganguzza. Keaton, Sierra/Affinity’s Nick Meyer and Marc Schaberg, and Will Greenfield are executive producing.