Sundance 2012: 10 Films that will Sell and 3 Wild Cards that Might

2012-02 FEA Sundance Arbitrage H
Myles Aronowitz

WHY IT WILL SELL: A cast of well-known veterans (Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon) and hot rookies (Brit Marling, Nate Parker) populates a muscular thriller set against a zeitgeisty financial-world backdrop.


Even with buyers and sellers predicting a wide swath of dealmaking, these 13 titles are looking like the hottest picks of the bunch.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.


Why It Will Sell: A cast of well-known veterans (Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon) and hot rookies (Brit Marling, Nate Parker) populates a muscular thriller set against a zeitgeisty financial-world backdrop. Director: Nicholas Jarecki; Reps: WME, Parlay Films


Why It Will Sell: A young female cast (Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan) in an edgy post-Bridesmaids wedding comedy produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions is destined to draw?attention. Director: Leslye Headland; Reps: CAA, Elle Driver

Black Rock

Why It Will Sell: Genre titles from the Midnight section often score deals, and the director's up-and-coming status has buyers curious. Plus, the remote-island survival story has co-star Kate Bosworth's name recognition. Director: Katie Aselton; Rep: Submarine

PHOTOS: Sundance 2012: 10 Buzzing Films That Will Sell

Celeste and Jesse Forever

Why It Will Sell: This 21st century out-of-love story stars hip comedy actors Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg as exes who try to remain friends. Warm, mature commercial appeal will seal the deal. Director: Lee Toland Krieger; Rep: UTA

For a Good Time, Call …

Why It Will Sell: In the wake of Bridesmaids, a raunchy comedy about two women (Lauren Miller, Ari Graynor) who operate a phone-sex line has potential written all over it -- especially at only $3.99 a minute. Director: Jamie Travis; Rep: Cinetic

Lay the Favorite

Why It Will Sell: An Oscar-nominated director, a couple of movie stars (Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones) and an indie stalwart (Please Give's Rebecca Hall) make this gambling comedy enticing for obvious reasons. Director: Stephen Frears; Reps: CAA, Wild Bunch

The Queen of Versailles

Why It Will Sell: Despite the legal controversy that has arisen around the film, this doc about a wealthy couple whose dream of building the biggest house in America is cratered by the economic crisis couldn't be more timely. Director: Lauren Greenfield; Rep: Submarine

The Surrogate

Why It Will Sell: John Hawkes. The riveting creep of Martha Marcy May Marlene and Winter's Bone (Oscar-nominated for the latter) unleashes another searing performance as an artist in an iron lung who decides to lose his virginity. Director: Ben Lewin; Rep: CAA

West of Memphis

Why It Will Sell: This doc is fielding serious interest ahead of its festival premiere, with the heavyweight support of Peter Jackson and a real-time news hook buoying its exploration of the West Memphis 3 case. Director: Amy Berg; Rep: Ken Kamins

The Words

Why It Will Sell: This tale of an author who appropriates another man's memoir on his way to literary stardom has major star power (Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana). Directors: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal; Reps: CAA/Untitled, Parlay Films

STORY: Sundance 2012: A Cautiously Optimistic Look at This Year's Market


Beasts of the Southern Wild

Why It Might Sell:l Zeitlin's Faulkner-esque treatment of a little girl struggling with missing parents and rising seas could startle with its original vision. Director: Benh Zeitlin; Rep: WME

The Other Dream Team

Why It Might Sell: A documentary about the 1992 Lithuanian national basketball team doesn't sound like an obvious winner, but the Rocky-style goodwill generated by its run to the Barcelona Summer Olympics could have buyers and audiences cheering. Director: Marius Markevicius; Rep: WME

Simon Killer

Why It Might Sell: Shocking provocation could drive interest in this story of a recent college graduate who exiles himself to Paris on the heels of a breakup, only to fall in love with a prostitute. Director: Antonio Campos; Reps: CAA, UTA