As of Tuesday, it was looking like Sundance 2010 was not going to be a buyers’ market after all. The festival could only boast two deals: Davis Guggenheim’s documentary Waiting for Superman to Paramount Pictures and the Ryan Reynolds-starrer Buried to Lionsgate for over $3 million.
But in the last two days indie distributors have become a lot more comfortable with what’s screening at the festival. In the past 24 hours three movies now have theatrical distribution attached to them. Focus Features purchased The Kids Are All Right (pictured) by director Lisa Cholodenko (Laurel Canyon) for a reported $4.8 million, making it the largest deal of the festival. The comedy starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore centers on a lesbian couple whose teenage children want to reunite with their biological father (Mark Ruffalo). Filmed in only 24 days, the cast luckily gelled together without much time. “It’s the one narrative everybody knows,” says Moore, who stopped by the EW photo shoot with some of the cast. “Most of us have our own families or are living in families so it’s something that you can plug into pretty quickly.”
In other deals, Newmarket Films purchased Hesher, the indie drama starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a long-haired anarchist for a reported $1 million. The film, from director Spencer Susser, bowed to mixed reviews, but perhaps the star power of Levitt and Natalie Portman will be enough of a draw for audiences.
The third sale involved publisher Hannover House buying film and video rights to Joel Schumacher’s Twelve, a chronicle of privileged adolescents growing up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Starring Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts and Rory Culkin, the film will be Hannover’s first major-market theatrical release. The film, purchased for an estimated $2 million, is Sundance’s official closer, with its first public screening set for Friday night. (additional reporting by Adam Vary)