UPDATED: Searchlight has confirmed Deadline’s scoop on Theater camps. The release is below, with another big Sundance deal on the books.
EXCLUSIVE: Searchlight Pictures is in final talks to acquire theater camp from the Sundance Film Festival, in a worldwide deal that will reach around $8 million, with a guaranteed theatrical release.
Directed by Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman, the film stars Gordon and Ben Platt as longtime best friends who return to a run-down upstate theater camp that is in jeopardy when its founder falls into a coma. due to an unfortunate strobe light incident. His son takes over and he tries to avoid foreclosure even though he initially has little interest in greasepaint and boards.
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The project was born of Booksmart, another Gloria Sanchez production. Elbaum & Ferrell produced with Erik Feig of PictureStart (which financed with Topic Studios), Samie Kim Falvey, Julia Hammer, Ryan Heller, Maria Zuckerman, Noah Galvin, Gordon, Lieberman and Platt.
The film received a rousing standing ovation after its Saturday premiere at Eccles in Park City and becomes the second big sale of 2023 Sundance, following a roughly $20 million jackpot that Netflix paid for the worldwide rights to Fair play.
WME Independent is negotiating the deal, which is expected to close shortly. I’m waiting for news from Searchlight.
Here is the output:
Searchlight Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to Sundance crowd pleaser THEATER CAMP, the feature debut from Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman of PICTURESTART, Topic Studios and Gloria Sanchez Productions. The mockumentary, which premiered to a raucous and critically acclaimed reception at the festival, features comedy ensemble Gordon (Baby Shiva, Library), Ben Flat (Perfect), Noah Galvin (Library), Jimmy Tatro (“American Vandal”), Patti Harrison (together together), and Ayo Edebiri (“The Bear”). Written by Galvin, Gordon, Lieberman and Platt, and based on their short film, the film was produced by Will Ferrell, Galvin, Gordon, Lieberman, Platt, Erik Feig, Samie Kim Falvey, Julia Hammer, Ryan Heller, Maria Zuckerman and Jessica Elbaum .
THEATER CAMP follows the eccentric staff who run a rambling acting camp in upstate New York. After its indomitable and beloved founder falls into a coma, they must unite with his ignorant “crypto-brother” son to keep the theatrical paradise afloat. The cast is rounded out by Nathan Lee Graham, Owen Thiele, Alan Kim, Alexander Bello, Bailee Bonick, Kyndra Sanchez, Donovan Colan, Vivienne Sachs, Quinn Titcomb, along with Caroline Aaron and Amy Sedaris.
“We couldn’t imagine a better home for THEATER CAMP than Searchlight Pictures! It’s an absolute dream to be a part of their incredible and rich history that includes so many of our favorite films,” Gordon and Lieberman said. “This film is about the joy of bringing people together in one room, and for Searchlight to see the importance of sharing it in theaters means a lot to us. We are beyond grateful and thrilled.
“Making this movie with the very talented Ben, Molly, Nick and Noah, the amazing gang of Gloria Sanchez and our friends at Topic Studios was a complete dream,” Feig continues. “The rest of the dream was to bring the film to Sundance where we would have an amazing showing and then we were bought by Searchlight who could bring it to audiences around the world like they have done with other Sundance titles. , notably Little Miss Sun and Napoleon Dynamite. And NOW, that dream is coming true! We can’t wait to see this film in theaters, with a real audience, brought to you by the uniquely talented team at Searchlight.
“We had the time of our lives making this movie with Molly, Nick, Ben and Noah and our friends at PICTURESTART and Gloria Sanchez,” said Ryan Heller, Executive Vice President of Film and Documentary at Topic Studios. “David, Matthew and the whole Searchlight team’s enthusiasm for THEATER CAMP only reinforced that they are the perfect partner to bring this film to the world.
“The loud and resounding reception of the public at THEATER CAMP is a testament to the charm, wit and joy of what Molly and Nick and the entire film crew have created,” added Searchlight Presidents David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield. “We can’t wait to bring this inspiring and hilarious film to audiences in theaters around the world.”
THEATER CAMP was produced by Jeff Valeri, Shayne Fiske Goldner, Jimmy Tatro, Jennifer Semler, Michael Bloom, Alex Brown and Mary Bundy. The craft team includes cinematographer Nate Hurtsellers (tail whip), editor Jon Philpot (“Hacks”, “Search Party”), set designer Jordan Janota and Charlotte Royer (The Art of Self Defense)and composer James McAlister (Love, Simon).
THEATER CAMP will hit theaters, with additional plans to be announced.
WME negotiated the THEATER CAMP dealing with Searchlight executives Paul Hoffman and Chan Phung.
The sale marks PICTURESTART’s third film sale at the Sundance Film Festival, including last year’s Cha Cha real smooth, which sold to Apple TV+ for $15 million and won the festival’s Audience Award, and Am I okay? sold to HBO Max.