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The Orchard has acquired North American rights to Taika Waititi’s comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople. The deal, pegged at nearly $2 million, includes a traditional theatrical release.
Based on Barry Crump’s novel Wild Pork and Watercress, the story follows a national manhunt that is ordered when a rebellious kid and his foster uncle go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.
Wilderpeople stars Julian Dennison, Sam Neill, Rachel House, Rima Te Waita and Oscar Knightley.
Waititi, who directed and starred in 2015’s What We Do in the Shadows, also wrote the film’s screenplay. The director’s stock has been on the rise ever since he landed the helming assignment for Marvel’s next Thor movie.
Wilderpeople marks the second collaboration between Waititi and The Orchard, which also released What We Do.
Wilderpeople was produced by Carthew Neal, Matt Noonan and Leanne Saunders. Charlie McClellan and James Wallace executive produced.
The Orchard acquired the film after its Jan. 22 premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
“This film captures so much of what we love about Taika — it’s wildly funny, endearing, smart and deserves as big an audience as possible,” said Paul Davidson, The Orchard’s senior vp film and television. “We pursued this film for all of those reasons but also because we genuinely love being in business with Taika.”
Added Waititi: “We developed a really strong relationship with The Orchard on What We Do in the Shadows. They did such a great job on that release that I’m really pleased to be partnering with them again on Wilderpeople. I’m excited the film will be getting a theatrical release in North America. It was the main thing we wanted coming into Sundance, so we’re all going home happy.”
Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales for the film, with CAA co-repping in North America. CAA negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers and Craig Sussman on behalf of The Orchard.
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