Focus Features will release Wish I Was Here on July 18, 2014 in a platform release in NY and LA before the pic expands the following week and again on August 1. The news was announced via the film’s page …
Sundance: As ‘Dogfight’ Producer Richard Guay Floats New Crowd-Funding Model, It’s Time To Stop Using Kickstarter And ‘Wish I Was Here’ As A Punching Bag
Just days after the domestic rights to the Zach Braff-directed and Kickstarter-funded Wish I Was Here sold for $2.75 million to Focus Features at the Sundance Film Festival, there’s a new crowd-funding plan making the rounds here in Park City. While his Passion First Funding isn’t up and running yet, Dogfight producer Richard Guay, who has been part of the New York indie scene for years, thinks he’s found a way that people can actually see some financial return for contributing to future projects like Braff’s movie. “It’s going to bring traditional financing and the power of the crowd together,” he told me today. The idea comes out of aspects of the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act that permit general solicitation of accredited investors. The act was intended for startups in general, of which film is but a niche, but in this case people putting money in to a project seeking crowd-funding won’t just be getting a signed poster or set visit but they could actually make their money back as well as profits.
On Eve Of MLK Day, Will Adultery Keep Epic Dr. King Movie Off The Big Screen?
By Mike Fleming Jr. – Oliver Stone has run smack into the same wall on a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr biopic that director Paul Greengrass hit when Universal kicked his MLK project Memphis to the curb two years back.
PREVIOUS: Focus Features is getting on the board here at Sundance, just closing a distribution rights deal to Wish I Was Here, the film which Zach Braff wrote and directed, and stars as a father struggling to home school his kids. Braff stars with Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Jim Parsons, Ashley Greene, Pierce Gagnon and Joey King. The deal is $2.75 million for a theatrical release over 500 screens, and generous P&A to support it. There is also a strong back end.
Interest in this one kick-started right after the film debuted Saturday night at the MARC. It came in as one of the high profile pics at Sundance, by merit of the Kickstarter crowd funding campaign undertaken by Braff and his producers, Stacey Sher, Michael Shamberg and Adam J. Braff. The film was repped by CAA with Wild Bunch. Kickstarter and Worldview financed the film.
It’s the first major acquisition since Peter Schlessel took over the shingle.
Zach Braff understands critics of his multimillion-dollar Kickstarter campaign for Wish I Was Here, which premieres today at the Sundance Film Festival, but says they’re missing the big picture. “I have money, I’ve made money in my life and I put a great deal of money into this film as it were, but I certainly couldn’t write a check for $5 million to make the film and that’s why I looked to Kickstarter as a way of doing it,” the director and former Scrubs star says. “I understand why people got all upset about it but, when you look at all the data, we drove an insane amount of traffic to the site,” he adds. Weathering a hailstorm of “Why does a rich guy with a sitcom in syndication and lots of famous friends need to hit up the Internet for cash?” critiques, Braff took to the crowdfunding site last spring to raise $2 million for his second directorial feature; in 30 days his comedy-drama about a struggling thirtysomething actor looking for meaning in his life after the death of his father raised $3.1 million towards the $5 million-budgeted pic.
That had a digital spillover effect for less high-profile projects, Braff says. “The analytics show what drove [backers] there, be it my Facebook, my Twitter or an article on Deadline, but then you see what they did. They didn’t just go on my site. They spent a fair amount of time pursuing the site for other movies they might want to fund.”
Here are the 2014 Sundance Film Festival titles brought up most often in talks with buyers. It’s a hard year to handicap them; sellers haven’t previewed them for buyers, and sometimes the great ones sneak up on you. Not on the list is Boyhood, the film that Richard Linklater made using the same cast over a 12-year span. IFC is believed to have an in on that film, which makes its official premiere in Berlin.
WHIPLASH – Writer/Director: Damien Chazelle, Cast: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Austin Stowell. In U.S. Dramatic Competition. The kid just want to play drums in the school band, but the ruthless band conductor and his taskmaster way might drum him out of the group. 1st Screening, Today, 6:00 PM – Eccles (UPDATE: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions picked this up Thursday night for several overseas territories as it kicked off the fest’s opening night.)
I, ORIGIN – Writer/Director: Mike Cahill. Cast: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling. A Biologists make a startling discovery. A Sci-Fi followup to Cahill’s Sundance entry Another Earth. 1st Screening – Saturday, January 18th, 3:30 PM – Eccles
INFINITELY POLAR BEAR – Writer/Director: Maya Forbes, Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana. In U.S. Dramatic Competition. A man who suffers from bipolar syndrome cares for his two daughters while their mom starts a career and he struggles to keep his demons at bay. 1st Screening – Saturday, January 18th, 12:15 PM – Eccles
WISH I WAS HERE – Writer/Director: Zach Braff. Cast: Braff, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Jim Parsons, Ashley Greene. Braff plays a struggling dad who tries to home school his children. This is one of the high profile titles here, by merit of its widely publicized Kickstarter fundraising campaign. Braff helmed Garden State. 1st Screening – Saturday, January 18th, 11:15 AM – MARC
It’s a long way from Kickstarter to Park City, but that’s where Zach Braff is going next month. The Sundance Film Festival said today that the Braff-directed Wish I Was Here has been added to its Premiere selection. This is the first crowd-funded film picked for a World Premiere in the Sundance section and joins 17 previously announced films in the sidebar for the January 16-26 festival. The sure-to-attract-attention comedy-drama about a struggling thirtysomething actor seeking meaning in his life and marriage after the death of his father stars Braff, Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Ashley Greene and Joey King. The former Scrubs actor co-wrote the screenplay with his brother and raised more than $3.1 million for it in a somewhat controversial Kickstarter campaign this spring. Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg produced the pic through their Double Feature Films. Worldview Entertainment stepped in to provide gap financing.
Sundance also announced today that Kevin Smith’s Clerks will join the previously announced Hoop Dreams in its Collection “Class of 94” selection. Both films debuted at the festival two decades ago.
Joey King Joins ‘Wish I Was Here’; ‘Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ Adds Pair
EXCLUSIVE: Joey King has been tapped for the role of Grace Bloom in Wish I Was Here, the indie drama Kickstarted by Zach Braff. King will play Grace Bloom, the 12-year-old daughter of Braff’s character who takes her Jewish education very seriously and is dubious about having him as her home teacher. King is in theaters now opposite Channing Tatum in White House Down and appears later this month with Vera Farmiga in Warner Bros’ The Conjuring. She is repped by Coast To Coast Talent Group and Industry Entertainment.
Disney is adding to the cast of Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Dylan Minnette (Lost, Let Me In, Prisoners) has joined the Judith Viorst book adaptation as the older brother to Alexander (Ed Oxenbould), the young hero who goes through the mishaps of a terrible day for his family after he wishes they all would experience the same troubles he does. Meanwhile, Kerris Dorsey (Brothers & Sisters, Ray Donovan) has landed the role of Emily, Alexander’s sister. Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner play the kids’ parents in the film, which Miguel Arteta is directing for 21 Laps and The Jim Henson Company. Minnette is repped by Cunningham Escott Slevin & Doherty and Monster Talent. Dorsey is a client of WME and LB Talent Agency.
Kate Hudson has been cast as Zach Braff‘s wife in Wish I Was Here, the indie film Braff will direct that landed funding via Kickstarter in a campaign that surpassed its $2M fundraising goal in three days. Braff wrote the script with his brother Adam. It centers on Aidan Bloom (Zach Braff), a struggling actor, father and husband who at 35 is still trying to find his identity and a purpose for his life. He and his wife (Hudson) are barely getting by financially and Aidan passes his time by fantasizing about being the great futuristic Space-Knight he’d always dreamed he’d be as a little kid. Mandy Patinkin and Josh Gad have already joined the cast. Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg are producing the pic through their Double Feature Films.
Homeland‘s Mandy Patinkin has signed on to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter pic Wish I Was Here. Braff announced the casting today on the film’s Kickstarter page where the film surpassed its initial $2 million goal in just four days. Braff directs and stars in the film which is based on an original screenplay he wrote with his brother, Adam Braff. Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg (Django Unchained, Contagion, Garden State, Erin Brockovich, Pulp Fiction) are producing through their company Double Feature Films. Wish I Was Here tells the story of Aidan Bloom (Braff), a struggling actor, father and husband who at 35, is still trying to find his identity; a purpose for his life. He and his wife are barely getting by financially and Aidan passes his time by fantasizing about being the great futuristic Space-Knight he’d always dreamed he’d be as a little kid. Patinkin will play Braff’s character’s father. His feature film credits include Yentl, The Princess Bride, Everybody’s Hero, Pinero, Lulu On The Bridge, Ragtime and Dick Tracy. Patinkin is repped by ICM Partners.
2ND UPDATE, FRIDAY AM: The prognosticators who’ve been telling me that Kickstarter is a game-changing enterprise for movies, are proving to be so Kreskin-like, I will next challenge them to bend spoons with their brains (dated reference). Just a couple days into his attempt to raise $2 million to finance his film Wish I Was Here, Braff is already up to $1,766,130 and counting, from 25,245 people who’ve committed cash for a variety of tchotchkes. The game plan was to use Kickstarter funding, and foreign sales, to raise the $5 million needed to make the movie. Braff, producers Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg planned to work practically free, upfront. At this rate, Braff will reach his funding goal by the weekend. And with 28 days to go, they’ll likely wind up with enough dough to fund the whole movie without making pre-sales, and maybe enough to pay participants a little bit. This is startling, that so many people are betting on a filmmaker, and not donating because they just want to see a movie version of a favorite TV show like Veronica Mars.