Sundance: Zach Braff's 'Wish I Was Here' Scores Deal at Focus Features (Exclusive)
UPDATED: The director's "Garden State" follow-up generated intense interest after premiering Saturday.
PARK CITY -- Wish I Was Here, actor-director Zach Braff's Kickstarter-funded follow-up to his 2004 directorial debut Garden State, has closed a deal to be acquired by Focus Features.
The sale price is approximately $2.75 million, according to sources, with a significant theatrical commitment of about 600 theaters. The deal includes some international territories.
Wish I Was Here, from production companies Double Feature Films, Second Stix Films and Christopher Woodrow and Molly Conners of Worldview Entertainment, premiered Saturday to mostly positive (and some critical) reviews. (Read THR's rave review here.)
Braff's dramedy centers on a 30-something actor coming to terms with his life in the face of his father's illness and his life's dreams unfulfilled. Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin and Josh Gad co-star. Producers are Braff, brother Adam Braff, Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg.
The first film from a major star to be funded by crowdfunding site Kickstarter, Wish I Was Here is said to have generated strong interest from CBS Films and Lionsgate in an auction conducted by CAA and Wild Bunch.
“Garden State was a huge benchmark in the world of independent film, and we are looking forward to continuing to support Zach and his unique voice," Focus Features CEO Peter Schlessel said. "With Wish I Was Here, he has once again delivered a film that perfectly captures something essential about our lives, and presents it with the laughter and emotion we all recognize.”
Said Braff: “I am very excited to be partnering with Focus Features as they are one of the biggest supporters of independent film in the business. This is the perfect collaboration for us as they recognize and appreciate how unique our journey has been to get this film made."
The move marked the first big festival acquisition by Focus since owner Universal Pictures replaced CEO James Schamus with Peter Schlessel in the fall and shifted its focus from purely art-house pics to a more commercial sensibility.
Wish I Was Here is one of two films Worldview is shopping at Sundance. The production-financing outfit also has the Anne Hathaway-starrer Song One at the festival.
CAA repped the filmmakers.
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