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'Fruitvale' At Center Of 7-Figure Bidding War; Buyers Call It 2013's 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild'

by Tambay A. Obenson
January 21, 2013 12:38 PM
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"Fruitvale Station"

After what I heard and read was a strong debut at the Sundance Film Festival yesterday, Ryan Coogler's feature film debut Fruitvale, which stars Octavia SpencerMichael B. Jordan, Tristan Wilds and Melonie Diaz, is said to now be in the middle of what looks like a bidding war between several distributors who are very interested in the film.

Deadline is reporting that the drama, based on the murder of 22-year old Oscar Grant (played by Jordan in the film), and produced by Forest Whitaker, is "at the center of a multi-distributor auction that will be wrapped up first thing Monday morning at Sundance," adding further that the end deal, whenever bidding is complete, will be "worth just north of a $2 million minimum guarantee with commitments for screen commitments and a theatrical release, with P&A."


And what distribution companies are in the mix? The biggies, like The Weinstein Company, Fox Searchlight, with Paramount Pictures and Focus Features.

In fact, word from Deadline is that buyers are calling it this year's Precious or Beast Of The Southern Wild, as in the little indie film that goes on to capture audiences and critical acclaim, as it travels throughout the year.

Performances are said to be strong, notably star Michael B Jordan's. So might we be talking awards season buzz for Mr Jordan in about 10 months? We'll see.

We should be getting a review from Zeba Blay some time today.

But kudos all around. I'm looking forward to seeing it sooner than later. 

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  • JTC | January 23, 2013 11:42 AMReply

    When I went to Sundance years ago, I remember wondering when it might be that you would see a project like this make its way into the national conversation. I lived in Oakland, not far from the area in question and had no doubt that this subject would make an excellent film project. But when Ryan Coogler was able to get enough support to tap into the deep pool of black talent, actors who with the ability to shine but without really having had the chance to really flex (Michael B. Jordan, Tristan Wilds) not to mention Octavia Bulter, that's when I knew that Mr. Coogler had something lovely cooking in the kitchen. I love it. Mad Respect. I hope this project will be a launch for the career of a serious filmmaker whose films DEMAND international respect.

  • Tombs | January 21, 2013 11:47 PMReply

    I thought movies were made to stand on their own feet, rather than make
    comparison to how other movies got made.

  • MASTER BLASTER | January 22, 2013 6:09 PM

    i had to laugh at this comment. haha. in a perfect world, sir. in a perfect world. unfortunately, industry folk would rather find a way to say that a project is 'just like' something else than show any interest in something that is truly unique and original. that's not to say that FRUITVALE is anything like the movies that were referenced, i just took it as a barometer of the buzz that the films created.

  • JaySmck | January 21, 2013 10:53 PMReply

    To compare a movie to Beasts of the Southern Wilds is not a compliment and especially not to black people.

  • Miles Maker | January 21, 2013 5:47 PMReply

    References to BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD are because FRUITVALE was also backed by Sundance workshops and San Francisco Film Society filmmaker grants.

  • Tracy Twinkie Byrd | January 21, 2013 5:09 PMReply

    I'm so Proud of My Film and of Director Ryan Coogler!! I Cast "FRUITVALE" and "FIG" for Him!!

    RYAN COOGLER is a True Directing ARTIST!!

  • Nijla | January 21, 2013 3:24 PMReply

    GO RYAN!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Skrim | January 21, 2013 3:23 PMReply

    "This year's Precious or Beast Of The Southern Wild," which may roughly be translated as the latest flick to garner acclaim while showcasing the Negroes' hard luck lives. Yet, a film about ongoing police brutality needs to be told. Perhaps this one is a cut above the other referenced films.

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