By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com January 25, 2011 at 5:59AM
Plus Sundance Flicks 'Silent House,' 'Bengali Detective' & 'Circumstance' Find Homes
With Sundance on, it's sales time for studios and distributors, as everyone in town competes to pick up the next would-be indie phenomenon. In what's been a more lively market for acquisitions than in recent years (albeit with few "Happy, Texas"--style big money sales), pictures such as "Like Crazy," "Homework," "Marcie Martha May Marlene" and "The Ledge" have all found homes, along with documentaries "Life in a Day" and "Page One."
However, probably the biggest pick-up of the day comes for a film that isn't at Sundance, and hasn't even gone before cameras, as Vulture reports that Summit is in discussions to make an adaptation of the cult novel "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower." The project, based on the 1999 Steve Chbosky tome, a self-conscious "Catcher in the Rye" for the MTV generation, was originally announced last summer, with "Percy Jackson" and "The Three Musketeers" star Logan Lerman as the lead; Emma Watson as the girl he befriends, and John Malkovich's Mr. Mudd company, clearly hoping to repeat their success with "Juno," were going to produce the film, to be directed by Chbosky himself, independently.
Now, it seems that Summit is stepping in; while nothing's final, Vulture suggests that a formal announcement is coming from the studio in the next week, and that cameras will finally roll in June, which may put Watson out of the running for the Taylor Lautner vehicle "Incarceron," if she was ever a real contender. We assume that Summit will be financing the project entirely, rather than agreeing to make a negative pick-up, what with the film not shooting for another six months and all.
In other acquisition news, from Park City this time, Deadline has news of three new deals that have been made in the last 24 hours. Liddell Entertainment ("Biutiful," "I Love You Philip Morris") have acquired most world rights to the one-shot horror flick "Silent House," starring starlet-of-the-moment Elizabeth Olsen, for around $3 million, with a P&A commitment of around the same amount. Liddell is now working to find a distributor for the project, a remake of last year's Uruguayan film "La Casa Muda." Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company are said to be interested.
Meanwhile, Participant Media, who also joined with Magnolia to buy the rights to "Page One," has picked up the rights to the Iranian drama "Circumstance" for a six figure sum, and is also now in talks with distributors. The film, from debut director Maryam Keshavarz, involves an Iranian family trying to contain their daughter's sexual rebellion, and their son's 'dangerous obsession.' The film was shot in Lebanon, after she became concerned that her cast & crew might be put in danger by the film's subject matter.
Finally, Fox Searchlight, who's been busy at the festival, already also acquiring "Homework" and "Marcy May Martha Marlene," also bought the remake rights to Philip Cox's documentary "The Bengali Detective," which follows a Calcutta private investigator, Rajesh Ji, who mixes his investigations of the criminal underworld with a dream to dance on Indian TV. It sounds like it's got the potential to be a real crowd pleaser, but we hope it means that the original film, from Native Voice Films, will see the light as more than a DVD extra down the line.