UPDATE: Amazon confirmed the scoop. The release is at the bottom of the original break.
EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios is closing another breathtaking Sundance film deal. After another all-night auction, Amazon is nearing the finish line on a $14 million world rights deal for Brittany Runs A Marathon, the film that Paul Downs Colaizzo wrote and directed that stars Jillian Bell as a woman who decides to turn her life around by losing weight and training to run a marathon. Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Michaela Watkins, Micah Stock, Mikey Day, and Alice Lee also star.
The film premiered Monday in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category, and sources said there were six suitors in the mix. The deal saw Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke take a direct role in the negotiations. Salke, who left NBC to take the top job at Amazon almost exactly a year ago and spent much of her early tenure focused on fortifying Amazon’s TV division, has turned her attention to movies. In the most brisk dealmaking market seen for Sundance films in many years, she been a shining star in Park City, along with her film team of Ted Hope, Julie Rapaport, Matt Newman and Bob Berney.
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Amazon made the first deal of the festival, paying a U.S.-only record $13 million for Late Night, the Nisha Ganatra-directed comedy that was scripted by Mindy Kaling (whose relationship with Salke going back to NBC and The Office helped) and stars Kaling, Emma Thompson and John Lithgow.
On Monday, Amazon then paid $14 million for most world rights on the Scott Z Burns-directed The Report, the film that stars Adam Driver, Annette Benning, Jon Hamm, Ted Levin, Maura Tierney and Michael C. Hall, and tells the true story of Daniel Jones’ exhaustive six-year investigation into the CIA’s use of torture on detainees suspected of terrorist activities.
Amazon might not be done here. After being in the mix on two other hot Sundance films Blinded By The Light and The Farewell, it is in the mix on several other titles that haven’t closed, including Knock Down The House, the documentary that chronicles how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other woman around the country challenged the status quo to run for Congress last fall. Amazon has had some great luck at Sundance, where in past years it acquired The Big Sick and Manchester By The Sea.
The heroine of the film is based on Colaizzo’s roommate. She was the funniest person in every room she was in, but her penchant for partying and a terrible diet left her with health problems. Her struggle is a relatable one and is delivered in crowd pleasing fashion, with breakout potential.
Brittany Runs A Marathon is a co-production between Material Pictures and Pictures Films. It is produced by Matthew Plouffe, Tobey Maguire and Margot Hand. Richard Weinberg, Jillian Bell, and Colaizzo are the exec producers.
Endeavor Content brokered the deal.
BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON FINDS A HOME AT AMAZON STUDIOS
AFTER 2019 SUNDANCE PREMIERE
Amazon Studios has acquired worldwide rights to the Sundance breakout comedy Brittany Runs a Marathon, written and directed by acclaimed playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo, in his feature film debut.
Brittany Forgler is 27 years old and a mess: her boss is disappointed in her, her doctor is worried about her, her friends don’t respect her, and, worst of all, she doesn’t respect herself. In search of a new life, Brittany laces up her Converse and runs one block. The next day, two. Pretty soon, a mile. She finally has direction, but is she on the right path? Brittany Runs a Marathon is the story of a woman who wants a better life, and sets out to conquer herself one city block at a time.
“Paul has crafted a hilariously rich story populated with vivid characters, anchored by the brilliant Jillian Bell, struggling with relatable issues many face on a daily basis,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “Our goal at Amazon Studios, across both TV and film, is to be the best home for talent – in front and behind the camera. The three films we’ve picked up at Sundance speak to that ethos. It’s a mixture of new and established talent we hope to build a future with and continue to produce content for audiences around the world on Amazon Prime Video. Our customers are going to absolutely love these films!”
Director Paul Downs Colaizzo said, “I could feel Jennifer Salke’s passion for our movie and its characters as soon as she walked in the room. I’m so moved by the boundless love and support she and her colleagues have promised Brittany. My heart is full, my mind is blown, and I am going to bed.”
“Jen and her extraordinary team at Amazon Studios spoke about Brittany with an attention to the film’s true spirit and the kind of palpable belief that has powered this journey from the start. We simply could not have imagined a better home,” said producers Matthew Plouffe and Tobey Maguire of Material Pictures and Margot Hand of Picture Films.
Brittany Runs a Marathon stars Jillian Bell, Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Lil Rel Howery, Micah Stock and Alice Lee. Producers are Matthew Plouffe and Tobey Maguire of Material Pictures and Margot Hand of Picture Films, and executive produced by Richard Weinberg, Jillian Bell and Paul Downs Colaizzo.
Endeavor Content negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.
At Sundance, Amazon Studios acquired domestic rights to Nisha Ganatra’s Late Night, written, produced and starring Mindy Kaling, and acquired worldwide rights to Scott Z. Burns’ The Report starring Adam Driver and Annette Bening. In addition, Ritesh Batra’s Photograph and Bert & Bertie’s Troop Zero are screening as part of the official festival line-up.
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