With so much buzz about Sundance these days, it’s easy to get frustrated hearing so much about these obscure little movies that don’t even have release dates yet. But there was a time when we hadn’t heard of The Blair Witch Project, Little Miss Sunshine, or Reservoir Dogs, either, and all those Sundance movies ended up doing pretty well for themselves. So brace yourselves.
Which movies from 2013’s fest have the best chance of becoming the next breakout hits (and maybe even potential Best Picture nominees) like Juno or Beasts of the Southern Wild?
Here’s our round-up of the hottest films and biggest sales at this year’s Sundance!
1. The Way, Way Back
The cast of The Way, Way Back is pretty priceless ― Steve Carell, Allison Janney, Toni Collette, and Maya Rudolph amongst them. But the price Fox Searchlight put on the film is $9.75 million. It’s the biggest Sundance sale of the year, meaning that the studio thinks they can make big bucks off this one (as they did previously with Little Miss Sunshine and Juno, both of which went on to nab Oscar nods, too).
2. Before Midnight
Fans of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset can breathe a huge sigh of relief. The third (and last) film in the unlikely trilogy is said to be a fitting conclusion to the story of Jesse and Celine, who met in Vienna one fateful evening in the 90’s, bumped into each other in Paris a decade later, and…? Well, Before Sunset left us hanging with a “will they or won’t they?” ending to their romance and got a Best Screenplay nomination for Richard Linkalter, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke. There’s talk that this could repeat that and get some love for the actors, too. It hasn’t been picked up as of yet, but it’s hard to imagine that it won’t be soon.
A true story about a 22-year-old in the San Francisco Bay area who shot by police at a subway stop on New Year’s Day 2009, this film follows him in the last day of his life. It co-stars The Help Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and has received rave reviews from those who saw it at the fest. The Weinstein Company bought it for a little over $2 million.
The Matthew McConaughey flick is already generating some Oscar buzz for him as either Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor (since, you know, he was totally snubbed this year). Then again, it may face competition from Matthew’s other serious roles in 2013.
5. Don Jon’s Addiction
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s writing/directing debut has him playing a Jersey Shore-like character with a porn addiction. Relativity Media bought it for $4 million and a guaranteed $25 million spent on marketing the movie, so they obviously see a majorly profitable film here. And hey, we’ll see it!
6. Kill Your Darlings
In addition to purchasing the Keri Russell comedy Austenland, Sony Pictures Classics dropped $2 million on the beat poet drama starring Daniel Radcliffe. Not exactly a Harry Potter-like figure, but hey, it’ll do.
The amount it sold for doesn’t compare to The Way, Way Back, but this drama about a lesbian housewife who gets a concussion and turns to prostitution has people buzzing about its racy content. And isn’t provocation what Sundance is really about? It was sold to RADiUS-TWC, who also picked up the porn drama Lovelace... so apparently they're not afraid of risque material!
8. In A World…
Actress Lake Bell pulls a Joseph Gordon-Levitt by writing, directing, and starring in her filmmaking debut. It’s a comedy about the daughter of the movie trailer voice-over king (hence the title... get it?) who sets out on her own quest to narrate coming attractions, and it’s gotten great reviews.
9. The Summit
Of all the buzzed-about documentaries that were snatched up by buyers at the fest this year, this one might be the most talked-about of all. It chronicles the deaths of eleven ill-fated mountain climbers on K2 and has people anticipating that it’ll be one of the most successful docs of the coming year, picked up by AMC.
10. Upstream Color
It's not Sundance without a movie that makes everyone ask, "WTF?" For 2013, this is that movie. The Sundance website describes the plot as about a woman who is "unknowingly drawn into the life cycle of a presence that permeates the microscopic world." If you're asking "Huh?", you're not alone. Filmmaker Shane Carruth won the Grand Jury Prize nearly a decade ago for the time-travel tale Primer and now he's back with another trippy entry that has many singing its praises. Whatever we're in for with Upstream Color, it's bound to get people talking.
Which Sundance movie are you most excited for?