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New companies Neon and 30WEST have landed domestic distribution rights for I, Tonya, the Tonya Harding film starring Margot Robbie. A source pegged the deal at $5 million.
Heading into the Toronto International Film Festival, the project was already red-hot, with CBS Films having made a pre-fest offer. But CAA and UTA, which negotiated the deal, opted to wait for the film to make its world premiere at TIFF first, where it received strong reviews. Interest from Netflix and other buyers helped drive up the price.
I, Tonya centers on infamous figure skater Harding (Robbie), who was at the center of a huge sports scandal at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, where Harding’s husband Jeff Gillooly and a bodyguard hired a man to break the leg of her main competitor, Nancy Kerrigan.
Sebastian Stan plays Gillooly and Allison Janney portrays LaVona, Harding’s mother.
Craig Gillespie directed the film, to which Miramax had the rights before selling to Neon and 30WEST (AI Films financed).
Robbie produced I, Tonya under her LuckyChap Entertainment banner with Tom Ackerley. Bryan Unkeless and Steven Rogers, who also wrote the screenplay, also produced. Len Blavatnik and Aviv Giladi executive produced for AI Films.
“It’s been a whirlwind couple of days and we’re so thrilled by the overwhelming response I, Tonya received since premiering in Toronto,” said a spokesperson for LuckyChap Entertainment and Clubhouse Pictures. “This film means the world to us and we’re really happy to find a distribution partner in Neon, who loves it as much as we do. From the first meeting we had with them, their passion spoke volumes. They completely captured the essence and tone of our film and embraced the spirit of it through their innovative marketing approach.”
The deal was negotiated by CAA and UTA on behalf of the filmmakers. Miramax’s Bill Block and Adrian Lopez as well as AI Films’ Vince Holden negotiated the deal on behalf of their respective companies.
Sierra/Affinity represents international rights on I, Tonya and has sold to most of the world.
30WEST, founded by Dan Friedkin and Micah Green with partner Dan Steinman, has had an active TIFF, making a $3.5 million deal with YouTube Red to acquire Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!. The company co-represented the domestic rights alongside Cinetic.
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