As the 2024 Sundance Film Festival wraps up, expectations are mounting that a flurry of major sales could soon materialize. With over 60 films seeking distribution deals and most of the festival’s star-powered, commercially viable titles having already premiered, buyers seem to be cautiously taking their time to scoop up hot properties.
Compared to last year’s relatively sluggish market, sales activity could spike before Sundance wraps on Sunday if buyers want to leverage the excitement and momentum coming out of Park City. There are currently offers on the table for numerous titles, and just Saturday news broke that Warner Bros. is in talks to take the doc “Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story” for $15 million
Here’s a roundup of all the 2024 Sundance deals made so far, and we’ll be updating the list as more deals close.
My Old Ass
Amazon’s MGM Studios is in final negotiations to acquire Megan Park’s second film, “My Old Ass,” which stars Aubrey Plaza and Maisy Stella. The deal is for a robust $15 million. In her review of “My Old Ass,” TheWrap’s Ariana Martinez wrote that the coming-of-age dramedy “blends the YA journey with elements of sci-fi fantasy through fresh-faced 18-year-old Elliott (Stella) as she rings in adulthood by coming face-to-face with her 39-year-old self (Plaza).” The film was a charmer, playing to a standing ovation at its Sundance premiere.
Neon picked up the worldwide distribution rights to Steven Soderbergh’s unique ghost story film “Presence” on Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Written by David Koepp, the film tells the story of a family who move into a house, only to discover it may or may not be haunted. It’s a story we’ve seen countless times before, but what sets “Presence” apart is it’s told entirely from the point of view of the ghost. Shot in secret over 11 days, the film stars Lucy Liu and “This Is Us” alum Chris Sullivan. In his review for TheWrap, Chase Hutchinson said the film plays “as both a haunted house story and a family drama about what happens when we drift away from those closest to us.”
IFC Films and Sapan Studio acquired the North American rights to “Ghostlight,” the second film from “Saint Frances” directors Alex Thompson & Kelly O’Sullivan, on Thursday. The film stars Keith Kupferer as Dan, a melancholic construction worker who unexpectedly joins a local theater’s production of “Romeo and Juliet.” When the drama onstage starts to mirror his own life, he and his family are forced to address a recent tragedy.
A Real Pain
In the first major deal of the festival, Searchlight Pictures acquired the global rights to the dramedy “A Real Pain,” directed by Jesse Eisenberg and starring newly minted Emmy winner Kieran Culkin for a reported $10 million. The deal closed on Sunday, early in the fest.
Eisenberg stars in the film alongside Culkin as a pair of cousins who have trouble getting along — David (Eisenberg) is a polite and responsible father and husband, while Benji (Culkin) is more free-spirited, but blunt. The two go on a trip to Poland after the death of their grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, tracing the steps of her struggle to survive. In his review for TheWrap, Chase Hutchinson called Culkin a “force of nature” in the “hilarious” and “heartfelt” dramedy.
Sony Pictures Classics acquired director Rich Peppiatt’s musical biopic parody “Kneecap,” although deal terms were not disclosed.
The film follows “self-proclaimed ‘low-life scum’ Liam Óg and Naoise, along with school teacher JJ, who become a political symbol and the defiant voice of Ireland’s restless youth. As they struggle to make their mark on the world, and family and relationship pressures threaten to pull the plug on their dreams, the trio weave a narrative that transcends music.” Michael Fassbender also appears in this offbeat comedy, which won the Audience award at Sundance in the NEXT category.
It’s What’s Inside
Netflix acquired worldwide rights to horror film “It’s What’s Inside” for $17 million on Monday. The film is written and directed by Greg Jardin and centers on a pre-wedding party that descends into an existential nightmare when an estranged friend shows up with a mysterious suitcase.
The film, which played in the Midnight section at the festival, stars Brittany O’Grady, James Morosini, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Devon Terrell, Gavin Leatherwood, Reina Hardesty, Nina Bloomgarden and David Thompson.
Netflix picked up the documentary feature “Ibelin” on the Friday of the festival’s opening weekend, the day after the film’s premiere. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the film went on to win the Audience award from Sundance in the World Documentary category.
“Ibelin” centers on Mats Steen, a Norwegian gamer, who died of a degenerative muscular disease at the age of 25. His parents mourned what they thought had been a lonely and isolated life, when they started receiving messages from online friends around the world.
Skywalkers: A Love Story
Netflix also picked up the documentary “Skywalkers: A Love Story,” which played to acclaim in the U.S. Documentary Competition category. The film stars Angela Nikolau and Ivan Beerkus as a daredevil couple who journey across the globe to climb the world’s last super skyscraper and perform a bold acrobatic stunt on the spire.
Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story
This deal isn’t yet closed, but Warner Bros. Discovery is in final negotiations to take the crowdpleasing documentary “Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story” for $15 million. The film charts the life of Christopher Reeve, including his tenure as “Superman” and the accident that made him paralyzed from the neck down. Warner Bros. seems a solid fit given it could leverage its DC brand for the doc’s marketing.