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Sundance 2013: Fox Searchlight Buys 'The Way, Way Back' for $9.75 Million

The comedy, which stars Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell and Toni Collette, sparked the most heated bidding of the festival so far.

The Way, Way Back
"The Way, Way Back"

PARK CITY -- Fox Searchlight has acquired the Steve Carell comedy The Way, Way Back.

The deal, which sources set at $9.75 million, is for North American rights and several territories.

Way, Way Back sparked the most heated bidding so far this Sundance following its Jan. 21 premiere at Eccles Theatre. CAA, which co-repped the film with WME, would only meet with buyers with offers on the table. Still, the film always was expected to land at Searchlight, which has a relationship with directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (who penned the Academy Award-winning screenplay for Searchlight's The Descendants).

The film follows Duncan (Liam James), an introverted 14-year-old who comes into his own during the course of a summer when he forms unlikely friendships with the manager of a run-down water park (Sam Rockwell) and the misfits working there. The cast also includes Toni Collette, Allison Janney and Maya Rudolph.

The Hollywood Reporter's review of the film praised Rockwell's turn as perhaps "the most winning performance" of his career and called the movie "a charmer." 

OddLot Entertainment partnered with Sycamore Pictures to co-finance Way, Way Back, which shot in Massachusetts. Kevin Walsh produced alongside Sycamore's Tom Rice. OddLot's Gigi Pritzker executive produced with Faxon, Rash, Ben Nearn and George Parra.

The film’s international rights are being represented by Sierra/Affinity.

The Tuesday morning deal for Way, Way Back capped an electric 24-hour period in Park City, during which several high-profile narrative films were sold. On Monday, distributors cut deals for Don Jon's Addiction, AustenlandConcussion and Fruitvale.

Relativity Media acquired U.S. rights to Don Jon's AddictionJoseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut, in one of the biggest Sundance deals of all time. The company is paying about $4 million for the sex-filled film, with a roughly $25 million P&A commitment, according to sources. The Weinstein Co. picked up Fruitvale , which chronicles the true story of the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant at a BART station in Oakland, for $2.5 million. Also, The Weinstein Co.'s Radius label nabbed Concussion, the film debut from writer-director Stacie Passon, for seven figures. (THR's sources put the number slightly lower -- at around $600,000.) Finally, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions acquired worldwide rights to Jerusha HessAustenland after several days of competitive bidding. Sources peg the deal for the movie about a woman obsessed with a BBC production of Pride and Prejudice at north of $4 million.

Email: Daniel.Miller@THR.com; Tatiana.Siegel@THR.com

Twitter: @DanielNMiller; @TatianaSiegel27