Toronto: Universal, Focus to Team on Jason Bateman's 'Bad Words'
TORONTO – Focus Features and Universal have taken worldwide distribution rights on Jason Bateman's directorial debut Bad Words.
The deal is pegged at more than $7 million.
Focus will release the dark comedy domestically in 2014, while Focus Features International and Universal will handle the film overseas. The deal closed less than 12 hours after the film's Ryerson Theatre premiere Friday at the Toronto Film Festival, where it received a strong reception from buyers.
Andrew Dodge wrote the Black List screenplay for Bad Words, which stars Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney and newcomer Rohan Chand.
The raunchy comedy centers on a 40-something misanthrope who uses a loophole to compete in a national spelling bee. Sean McKittrick financed the film through his Darko Entertainment banner. Bateman produced alongside Mason Novick, McKittrick and Jeff Culotta.
Universal already enjoys a strong relationship with Bateman coming off the hit comedy Identity Thief, which Bateman starred in and produced.
The film is in a similar vein as Bad Santa given its strong language and risque sequences, including a 10-year-old drinking alcohol and watching a prostitute undress. Bad Words will undoubtedly receive an R rating.
The deal was brokered by CAA and Hicks Professional Law Corporation.