Sundance 2012: Buyers cautious as big titles continue to play


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With the Sundance Film Festival wrapping up its second full day, buyers continued to cool their heels.

Although the festival offers an abundance of available movies, no feature has yet sold at the Utah gathering. The two sales that have occurred have been for documentaries, with Sony Pictures Classics buying the offbeat music story ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ and Magnolia acquiring the real-estate tale ‘The Queen of Versailles.’


As of Saturday evening, the feature titles that seemed most likely to go were ‘Celeste and Jesse Forever,’ a romantic dramedy starring Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg. Though the movie divided audiences at its premiere Friday night, Weinstein Co. has expressed interest in the film, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of negotiations.

Photos: The scene at Sundance 2012

The company last year bought the Paul Rudd stoner tale ‘Our Idiot Brother,’ another comedy that drew a mixed reaction in Park City, and wound up muscling it to a $25-million box-office take after an expensive marketing campaign.

The company is also eyeing ‘The Words,’ a literary drama starring Bradley Cooper as a plagiarizing novelist. The movie, which premiered Saturday at the festival, has also attracted interest from Lionsgate, according to people familiar with the bidding.

Although the glut of sales titles was expected to cause a frenzy, several sellers said they thought it could be having the opposite effect, prompting buyers to wait until seeing more available titles before making a move. Late Saturday and Sunday brought more acquisition targets, including the Richard Gere financial thriller ‘Arbitrage’ and the phone-sex tale ‘For a Good Time, Call.’



Sundance 2012: An independent film, by way of Natalee Holloway

Sundance 2012: Rashida Jones does romantic dramedy

Sundance 2012: Magnolia gets ‘Queen of Versailles’ in 2nd fest deal

--Steven Zeitchik and John Horn