It's been quite the first few days at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival as these various reports will illustrate:
First up are Steven Zeitchik and Pamela McClintock from Variety with the early deals:
Fox Searchlight outbid other distribs, ponying up $5 million for Keri Russell starrer 'Waitress.'
After a somewhat sleepy start, Sundance surged to life Monday as lucrative deals for pics began to pour in, with Fox Searchlight spending a reported $10 million in less than 24 hours on a pair of films.
At least a half dozen seven-figure deals closed between Sunday and Monday evening....
The sudden surge in heftier deals took many execs by surprise after early buzz on the festival indicated a dearth of crossover films.
"Because there are a lot fewer good movies that have rights available at a festival, it drives the prices of the good ones up," said one well-known exec. "The hunger for product is bigger than ever."
In her first Sundance acquisition, Warner Independent Pictures [president] Polly Cohen plunked down $4 million for North American, U.K. and Teutonic rights to upbeat Brenda Blethyn starrer "Clubland," directed by Cherie Nowlan and penned by Keith Thompson.
Some considered the deal the richest yet of the fest, since it was only for three territories. Deal was struck with London-based Goalpost Films' Tristan Whalley and Nicki Parfitt, who have sold or are close to selling off other key territories, including Benelux to A Film, Italy to Lucky Red and France to Wild Bunch.
William Morris Independent's Rena Ronson led the negotiations for her team. Taking the lead for Warner Independent was senior VP of production and acquisitions Paul Federbush.
Two of the biggest buys of the day came from Searchlight. The Peter Rice-led division scooped up rights to "Waitress," written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelley...
News came a few hours after Searchlight disclosed it had bought "Joshua," a thriller set amid a Manhattan family, which preemed in the coveted slot after "Grace Is Gone" Saturday. Price is reported to be about $4 million for worldwide rights.
Searchlight has been the biggest spender at the fest, but its investments can be funded by lucrative international TV output deals, essentially bringing down the cost of acquisitions...
ThinkFilm laid down $2 million for all North American rights except TV for "In the Shadow of the Moon," outbidding Warner Independent and several other buyers.
David Sington pic examines the Apollo mission using rarely seen NASA footage of space...
Also on Monday, buyers were circling Spanish-language fave "La misma luna," and insiders expected bidding to climb into seven figures as well.
And buyers had heavy anticipation for "Son of Rambow," Garth Jennings' '80s period story about a boy cut off from pop culture.
Earlier buzz titles, including "Snow Angels," "The Good Life" and "The Ten," had yet to find buyers by Monday afternoon.
On Sunday, the Weinstein Co. and Lions gate pacted to buy "Teeth" for a reported $1 million.
More deals at Sundance...
Here are more reports from the Fest via Entertainment Weekly
And then there's the controversial documentary Zoo that's got many folks all in a tizzy and then some:
The film takes on the tough subject of bestiality...The director of the movie Robinson Devor says 'ZOO' is neither graphic nor exploitative'...
If that were not enough, there's also the controversy over the movie Hounddog featuring the on screen rape of the character played by pre-teen star Dakota Fanning...Whew!!!
While I myself do not endorse Zoo--I see it as a free speech issue--Each side is entitled to their support or detraction. The same goes for Hounddog--If Fanning's parents didn't object to what went on...I've always said, if you don't like something don't support it...Yes it is that simple.
...When I read this last item I laughed so hard I almost wet my pants...The headline alone...BWAHAHA...
Cage Confirmed As Liberace Favorite
Nicolas Cage has been confirmed as the favorite to play camp showman Liberace in a new movie musical. The actor has been linked to the role for years, but now screenwriters Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have confirmed Cage is in talks to show off his musical skills as the late pianist.
Speaking at the Sundance Film Festival, where the writers are promoting their new comedy Epic Movie, Seltzer says, "We met with Nicolas Cage last year and he really wanted to star in it; he wanted to direct himself in it too."
Cage....You've got to be kidding! Act and direct....Sheesh!!