EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: NEON indeed landed Assassination Nation, but they have a partner in what is the first eight-figure deal of the Sundance Film Festival. NEON acquired the picture with AGBO for north of $10 million for worldwide rights, and a wide release commitment. AGBO is the new progressive production company launched by Joe and Anthony Russo. 30WEST arranged the deal on behalf of Neon and AGBO, and Endeavor Content repped the film. Will tell you more after the Oscar nomination news clears out.
The film stars Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, Bill Skarsgard, Bella Thorne, Colman Domingo, Joel McHale and Aniki Noni Rose. Oroducers are David Goyer, Anita Gou, Kevin Turen, Aaron L. Gilbert, Matthew J. Malek and Manu Gargi.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE: After another all-night bidding battle, NEON is negotiating toward a deal to acquire the provocative Assassination Nation, sources said. This would mark its second major buy of Sundance, following yesterday’s deal for Monsters and Men, and the announcement that 30WEST acquired a majority stake in the distribution company started by Tom Quinn and Tim League and which is in the awards mix with Toronto acquired film I, Tonya.
Directed and written by Sam Levinson, the film tells the story of what happens when a social media-savvy high school senior and her friends observe the results of what happens when a provocateur starts posting details from the private digital lives of everyone in their small town — it turns the town upside down. Browser histories, direct messages, illegal downloads, secret text chains, and worse. It creates a worst-case scenario of what is possible in the digital age.
Endeavor Content is brokering this one, which got a strong reaction after its premiere in the Midnight section, at the PC Library Theater on Saturday. It is too early to confirm, and I will do a proper deal play by play after the Oscar nominations when I get confirmation.
Here is the full press release, which confirms Deadline’s scoop
Park City, UT (January 23, 2018) – NEON and the Russo’s Agbo Films have landed worldwide rights to Sam Levinson’s subversive, stylish modern thriller Assassination Nation which premiered on Sunday night in the Midnight section at Sundance to both audience and critical acclaim. The film was produced by BRON, Foxtail, and Phantom 4, in association with Creative Wealth Media. 30WEST arranged the partnership between NEON and Agbo Films.
Assassination Nation is the thousand-percent true story about how the quiet, all-American town of Salem, absolutely lost its mind. Writer/director Sam Levinson returns with an unflinching, unrelenting, undeniable picture of what’s it’s like to be alive and online this very second.
High school senior Lily and her group of friends live in a haze of texts, posts, selfies and chats just like the rest of the world. So, when an anonymous hacker starts posting details from the private lives of everyone in their small town, the result is absolute madness leaving Lily and her friends questioning whether they’ll live through the night.
The film features dazzling breakout performances by Odessa Young (The Daughter), Hari Nef (“Transparent”), Suki Waterhouse (The Bad Batch) and singer/songwriter ABRA. The amazing cast is rounded out with Bella Thorne (“Famous in Love”), Maude Apatow (This is 40, Knocked Up), Bill Skarsgard (It), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls, For Colored Girls), and Colman Domingo (Selma, “Fear the Walking Dead”), Joel McHale (“Community”) and Sundance star Kelvin Harrison Jr (Monsters and Men, Monster)
The film is written and directed by Sam Levinson. BRON’s Aaron L. Gilbert produced alongside Kevin Turen, and Foxtail’s Anita Gou. Manu Gargi, Matthew Malek, and Phantom 4’s David Goyer also produced. Creative Wealth’s Jason Cloth serves as an Executive Producer, alongside Mike Novogratz, Andy Pollack, David Gendron, Ali Jazayeri, and J.E Moore.
NEON CEO and Founder Tom Quinn said, “Sam Levinson delivers a stunningly beautiful and haunting film that’s sure to stay with you. I couldn’t be more excited to bring this singular piece of cinema to audiences.”
The Russo Brothers’ said, “Sam Levinson has made a devastatingly powerful and topical film that we feel privileged to support. Giving agency to exceptional and unique voices is paramount in a time when those voices need to be heard. This is a film that everyone needs to see and discuss.”
Said filmmaker Sam Levinson, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with this incredible team. Their sheer ingenuity, creativity, and passion is what every filmmaker dreams of. I’m so proud of our cast and crew, and this somewhat wild and totally crazy film. I am forever indebted to Sundance for their continued support and belief in me. I feel very grateful to be a part of this wonderful community.”
The deal was negotiated by 30WEST on behalf of NEON and Agbo Films and Endeavor Content on behalf of the filmmakers. Todd Makurath and Mike Larocca negotiated on behalf of the Agbo Films. NEON and 30WEST are currently releasing I, Tonya and recently announced a long-term partnership in which 30WEST became the majority investor in NEON.