Sundance: HBO Acquires Docu ‘Hot Coffee’

EXCLUSIVE: HBO has closed a deal for Hot Coffee, the Susan Saladoff-directed competition documentary which focuses onĀ  how corporations have used the memory of outlandish legal verdicts as a way to press for tort reforms and avoid jury trials through arbitration on cases that actually have merit.

HBO’s Sheila Nevins viewed the documentary after it premiered last Monday. I’m told the deal was mid to high six-figures. HBO licensed the film for broadcast and VOD for 2 years, and will afford the film a qualifying Oscar theatrical run before it airs on the pay channel. Preferred Content’s Kevin Iwashina brokered the sale. Carly Hugo and Alan Oxman produced with Saladoff.

The film’s title refers to the famous case of a woman”s million dollar judgment from McDonald’s over a spilled cup of coffee. Saladin, a lawyer, focuses on other outrageous cases that illustrated where corporations were negligent or unresponsive. They include a case involving Halliburton, which housed a 19-year old worker overseas in a barracks with men and ignored her concerns. She was gang-raped.

HBO had a busy Sundance, acquiring remake rights to turn the documentary Knuckle into a potential TV series with Rough House Productions, and making a preemptive acquisition of the docu Project Nim and then setting up theatrical distribution through Roadside Attractions.

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