With a $4 million payout from Fine Line, Saving Grace was Sundance 2000’s steepest movie buy, yet star Brenda Blethyn remained blissfully unaware of its significance. ”When they said, ‘We’ve been bought by Fine Line,”’ Blethyn recalls, ”I said, ‘Is that good?”’ No matter which side you take in the great Grace debate (did the company overpay?), this was a vintage year for Sundance acquisitions. Aside from Artisan’s Chuck & Buck purchase (see page 21), here are the fest’s big scores.
— BLOCKBUSTER The chain spent $2 million for exclusive video rights to the dark L.A. story Shadow Hours — a unique deal that still allows the filmmakers to seek domestic distribution. Blockbuster also made a pact for Love and Sex, starring Jon Favreau.
— SCREEN GEMS/SONY PICTURES CLASSICS Sony’s indie arms flexed their muscle with SG’s $3 mil Girlfight buy and SPC’s $1.5 mil Groove deal. (SPC also bought the Chinese romance Shadow Magic.)
— FIRST LOOK The mini-indie snatched the Christopher Walken bank-robber flick The Opportunists for an undisclosed amount.
— LIONS GATE No numbers yet, but it snagged The Eyes of Tammy Faye, narrated by RuPaul, and crowd-pleaser Two Family House, featuring three Sopranos cast members.