Sundance 2013: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Nabs 'Austenland' (Exclusive)
UPDATED: Sony Pictures Classics will handle the North American release of Jerusha Hess' directorial debut, which sold for north of $4 million, sources say.
PARK CITY -- Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has nabbed worldwide rights to Jerusha Hess' Austenland after several days of competitive bidding. Sources peg the deal at north of $4 million.
Sony Pictures Classics will release the film domestically.
The comedic spin on Jane Austen from director Hess originally sparked five bids; among the bidders was Exclusive Releasing/FilmDistrict, which initially had made separate bids but teamed up as counter offers escalated. But deal-making came to a halt as producer Stephenie Meyer was unavailable.
Hess, with husband Jared Hess, co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite and the Jack Black starrer Nacho Libre. She penned Austenland with Shannon Hale. The film follows a woman obsessed with a BBC production of Pride and Prejudice who travels to a Jane Austen-styled English resort to find her perfect gentleman.
Austenland premiered Jan. 18 at Eccles Theatre as part of Sundance's U.S. Dramatic Competition section. It stars Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Jennifer Coolidge, Georgia King and James Callis.
UTA represented the filmmakers in the deal.
Michael Helfand, Joe Matukewicz and Jon Freedberg negotiated on behalf of SPWA.