It’s titled “Unmentionables”. Sony Pictures Wide World Acquisitions picked up the movie earlier this week at Sundance. Sony Pictures Classics plans a summer release of the Jerusha Hess-directed film that stars Keri Russell as a Jane Austen fanatic who visits a theme park where the action in the clip takes place. Austenland is produced by The Twilight Saga‘s Stephenie Meyer.
Sundance: ‘Austenland’ To Sony WorldWide Acquisitions For North Of $4 Million; Sony Pictures Classics To Release In U.S.
UPDATE: Just got an update on Austenland. The deal is north of $4 million, midway between $4 million and $5 million, and Sony Pictures Classics will release the film in the summer, and they will rely heavily on producer (and Twilight Saga author) Stephenie Meyer, Jerusha Hess and Shannon Hale, along with star Keri Russell to promote it and make this a chick flick extravaganza.
EARLIER, BREAKING: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has closed on the Keri Russell-starrer Austenland. It’s a surprising outcome, and the deal numbers I’m hearing are north of $4 million for worldwide rights. Sony Pictures Classics will release in the U.S. The Jerusha Hess-directed film about a Jane Austen fanatic is produced by Twilight Saga‘s Stephenie Meyer.
The films The Way, Way Back played strongly at Eccles, and tonight is The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman. Sounds like another late night for buyers, sellers and the journos who stalk them. Negotiations continue on …
Sundance: Agents Party Before All Night Dealmaking Gets Market Going; Is Relativity Paying Big For ‘Don Jon?’
Agencies CAA, WME and UTA held their parties last night, but forgive the dealmakers for being distracted. They worked late into the night trying to close deals. Deadline told you last night that FilmDistrict (with Exclusive Media) was zeroing in on Austenland, a deal that would have closed last night if not for the fact that producer and Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer and director Jerusha Hess are Mormon and they apparently don’t focus on business on the holy day (I’m envious). UPDATE: That deal isn’t going to make, and the sellers will close elsewhere, possibly with Fox Searchlight.
Other deals that were all-nighters and are still going include Fruitvale, which had The Weinstein Company leading the pack and Searchlight, Paramount and Focus Features and CBS Films also in the mix for a deal that will ring up around $2 million or more and a nice theatrical release for this gem of a movie. WME Global is handling that one.
The Sundance acquisition logjam appears to be breaking. Deal-making is close on Austenland, and a deal just closed on The Look Of Love, with offers starting to be made on several other films. Word is that FilmDistrict is in talks for Austenland, which stars Keri Russell as an obsessed Jane Austen fan who visits a theme park based on the famed author’s work and her search for romance. Pic’s repped by UTA, which tells me this hasn’t been decided yet.
At the same time, a deal is closing for IFC to acquire North American rights to the Michael Winterbottom-directed Steve Coogan-starrer The Look Of Love. Coogan plays Paul Raymond, who ran Soho’s notorious Raymond Revue Bar and Men Only magazine. UTA consulted for Studiocanal on the deal.
Best known as the author of The Twilight Saga novels, Stephenie Meyer has brought the first feature from her Fickle Fish Films to the Sundance Film Festival this year. Based on Shannon Hale’s novel of the same name, Austenland focuses an obsessed Jane Austen fan’s search for love and visit to a theme park based on the famous author. Selected for the U.S. Dramatic competition, the comedy stars Keri Russell, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour and Bret McKenzie and marks the directorial debut of Napoleon Dynamite co-writer Jerusha Hess. Austenland premiered at the Festival on January 18 with a sold out screening yesterday and four more screenings planned, all of which are sold out too. A producer on all The Twilight Saga movies as well as the upcoming The Host, Meyer sat down with Deadline at Sundance to talk about producing a film not based on a book she wrote, adaptations and an Austenland sequel.
Deadline: How did Austenland come together as Fickle Fish’s first feature?
Stephenie Meyer: Austenland happened because years ago my good friend and author Shannon Hale sent me the manuscript for her book. I loved it obviously and I thought it read like a movie to me. You could see everything, it’s very visual. And I got halfway through and thought how much fun it would be to go and make it real. So I figured 10 years down the road, we’re going to go to England and film it ourselves. Which my partner Meghan Hibbett and I did but a little earlier than scheduled and a little more elaborately than we planned. I’ve always loved book adaptations. I don’t always love what comes out of it but I love the idea of it. Every time I read a book I’m casting it in my head. So producing for me started out as really cool hobby and Austenland was the perfect place to start.