Studio nabs rights to documentary
Endgame Entertainment’s “A Chorus Line” docu “Every Little Step” sold to Sony Pictures Classics, which is acquiring North American and Australian rights for a mid-six-figure minimum guarantee.Lionsgate/Roadside and Senator also vied for the project. Sony Pictures Classics will likely release the doc in the spring at the height of the Tony season. Endgame funded and produced the behind-the-scenes look at auditions for a revival of the Broadway classic. Endgame topper James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo both produced and directed and owned rights to several hours of tape made by “A Chorus Line” creator Michael Bennett in his apartment with actors and dancers that formed the basis of the show. Filming started back in 2005 as the show auditioned some 1,700 actor-singer-dancers hoping to land a slot in the 2006 “Chorus Line” revival. The pic blends audition footage with vintage material from the original 1975 production. The dramatic doc plays like a reality-TV show crammed with winners and losers, as talented hoofers put themselves on the line. Post-production took 18 months. The “Every Little Step” premiere at the Winter Garden in Toronto was greeted with a standing ovation that lasted several minutes. Original cast members as well as several from the revival appeared onstage. An after-party featured a performance of several of the show’s songs. “The film has such a core audience because the show is beloved everywhere,” said Stern, who structured the movie, like the musical, on performers telling their individual story. He believes there will be “substantial upside in ancillaries.” Stern’s L.A.-based Endgame is on a roll. Its other Toronto pics were “Brothers Bloom,” which Summit acquired in December, and Stephen Elliot’s romantic comedy “Easy Virtue,” based on the Noel Coward play, which is expected to sell this week. “In a bad environment, I think we did great,” Stern said. William Morris Independent’s New York theater department repped the estate of Bennett, who died in 1987, and Bennett’s attorney, John Breglio, who produced the 2006 revival of “A Chorus Line” and exec produced “Every Little Step.” William Morris Independent’s Rena Ronson pre-sold the Japanese rights to Shochiku and took the project to Stern at Endgame, which put up the lion’s share of the budget. Stern and Del Deo made docs “So Goes the Nation” and “The Year of the Yao.” Stern also produced theater productions “The Producers,” “Hairspray,” “Stomp” and “Legally Blonde.” (Sharon Swart contributed to this report.)
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