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Suburban rapper comedy Patti Cake$ was the latest film to spark a heated bidding war at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which was won by Fox Searchlight in a $9.5 million deal for worldwide rights.
Annapurna Pictures, The Orchard, Amazon, Neon and Lionsgate were also among the distributors who had pursued the hip-hop-inspired film, with bids exceeding the $10 million mark. But in the end, Searchlight prevailed, having worked previously with two of the film’s producers — Michael Gottwald and Dan Janvey — on Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Still, the $9.5 million deal is massive by Sundance standards, eclipsed this week only by The Big Sick, which sold to Amazon for $12 million. That deal covered U.S. rights and a few key territories.
Macdonald plays an aspiring rapper from New Jersey named Patricia “Killa P” Dombrowski in Patti Cake$, which marks the feature directing debut of Geremy Jasper, who also wrote the screenplay.
Jasper is known for his edgy music videos for such acts as Florence + The Machine and Selena Gomez.
Meanwhile, Australian actress Macdonald has quickly morphed into one of breakout stars of this year’s Sundance festival.
RT Features, which also sold the Sundance drama Call Me by Your Name, produced and financed Patti Cake$. Rodrigo Teixeira produced alongside Gottwald, Noah Stahl, Janvey, Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Chris Columbus. Lourenço Sant’Anna, Sophie Mas, Eleanor Columbus, Josh Penn, Jonathan Bronfman, Lon Molnar and Fernando Fraiha executive produced.
CAA and WME negotiated the deal.
Jan. 24, 10:08 a.m.: Updated story with Fox Searchlight buy.
Jan. 27, 11:32 a.m.: Updated story with Searchlight paying $9.5 million.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek