You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sundance: Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ Bought by Focus Features

Acquisition marks first major deal for newly restructured company

In his first major move as CEO of Focus Features, Peter Schlessel and his team at the newly consolidated Universal label acquired domestic rights to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded dramedy “Wish I Was Here.”

The film premiered Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival, where it garnered mixed responses.

The acquisition is a significant deal for Focus, which last year absorbed FilmDistrict and ousted former CEO James Schamus. Plenty of eyes at Sundance were focused on the company and what sort of deal it would make — if at all.

As part of its newly mandated direction by Comcast-owned Uni, Focus is taking a more commercial approach, in general, though sales agents prior to Sundance said the company would be looking at both commercial and specialty fare.

Wish I Was Here” certainly falls within the former camp as one of the more commercially targeted films at Sundance this year. Several other companies with a similar marketable mandate including Lionsgate and Fox Searchlight also were vying for the film.

The Focus deal was made for $2.7 million, with an initial theatrical commitment of 500 locations or more.

“Wish I Was Here” marks the first pic toplining a major star to be funded by Kickstarter.

The film, which is Braff’s follow-up to “Garden State,” centers on a thirty-something man (played by Braff) struggling to reconcile his failed life aspirations. Pic co-stars Kate Hudson, Josh Gad, Ashley Greene, Mandy Patinkin and Joey King.

More Film

  • Brad Pitt Emilio Estevez Tyler Perry

    Hollywood's Most and Least Profitable Stars Revealed

    In his first major move as CEO of Focus Features, Peter Schlessel and his team at the newly consolidated Universal label acquired domestic rights to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded dramedy “Wish I Was Here.” The film premiered Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival, where it garnered mixed responses. The acquisition is a significant deal for […]

  • I Tonya trailer

    'I, Tonya' Teaser: Margot Robbie Transforms Into Disgraced Figure Skater

    In his first major move as CEO of Focus Features, Peter Schlessel and his team at the newly consolidated Universal label acquired domestic rights to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded dramedy “Wish I Was Here.” The film premiered Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival, where it garnered mixed responses. The acquisition is a significant deal for […]

  • Gotham Awards Nominations Remind of Oscar

    Gotham Awards Once Again Remind of the Oscar Season Possibilities

    In his first major move as CEO of Focus Features, Peter Schlessel and his team at the newly consolidated Universal label acquired domestic rights to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded dramedy “Wish I Was Here.” The film premiered Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival, where it garnered mixed responses. The acquisition is a significant deal for […]

  • Nascent Middleburg Film Festival Banks on

    Nascent Middleburg Film Festival Banks on Rural Charm, Awards Hopefuls

    In his first major move as CEO of Focus Features, Peter Schlessel and his team at the newly consolidated Universal label acquired domestic rights to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded dramedy “Wish I Was Here.” The film premiered Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival, where it garnered mixed responses. The acquisition is a significant deal for […]

  • Makeup-Hair Designer Creates Looks for 'Blade

    Makeup-Hair Designer Specializes in Bruising Looks for 'Blade Runner 2049,' 'Stronger'

    In his first major move as CEO of Focus Features, Peter Schlessel and his team at the newly consolidated Universal label acquired domestic rights to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded dramedy “Wish I Was Here.” The film premiered Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival, where it garnered mixed responses. The acquisition is a significant deal for […]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Directors Guild of America Leaders to Address Sexual Harassment in Industry

    In his first major move as CEO of Focus Features, Peter Schlessel and his team at the newly consolidated Universal label acquired domestic rights to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded dramedy “Wish I Was Here.” The film premiered Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival, where it garnered mixed responses. The acquisition is a significant deal for […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content