Deadline is reporting that Fox Searchlight bought the distribution rights for “Brooklyn” which premiered during the Sundance Film Festival.
Two nights ago, Fox Searchlight was in the middle of an auction for Me And Earl And The Dying Girl that had reached a record $12 million — until FSL instead made a different deal with lower upfront and more upside in success. Now, Searchlight is closing up another deal that is one of the biggest for Sundance, paying $9 million for rights to Brooklyn, the John Crowley-directed period drama that stars Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent. Deal is for world rights, minus the UK, Canada and Oz.
Scripted by Nick Hornby, the film takes place in 1950s Ireland where a young woman uproots and heads to Brooklyn, trying to forge a new life and finding work and first love. Family tragedy brings her back to Ireland, where she is forced to confront a terrible dilemma. She must make a heartbreaking choice between two men and two countries. CAA brokered the deal with foreign sales agent Hanway. The film bowed in the Premieres section on Monday at the Eccles Theatre. This was one of the titles that buyers were most sparked about. Crowley is a fine director of UK-themed films, whose past efforts include Boy A and Intermission.
This one had everyone from The Weinstein Company to Focus Features and CBS Films chasing it, but Searchlight prevailed in the end. This is a whopper of a deal, and it stacks up favorably or even exceeds past precedent setters like The Spitfire Grill, Little Miss Sunshine, The Way Way Back and Hamlet 2, when you factor in the territories in the deal.
While they are understated about their business, Fox Searchlight’s Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley leave the slopes with two of the most coveted acquisition titles. It’s not surprising they came here swinging for the fences; after winning the Best Picture Oscar last year for 12 Years A Slave, this year they’ve got The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is about to cross $180 million worldwide and is selling briskly on DVD with nine Oscar nominations including Best Picture.