Neon and AGBO, two new film players, have inked the biggest deal of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, picking up global rights to “Assassination Nation” for more than $10 million.
The pact provides a jolt of energy to a moribund sales market. Neon, is just over a year old, and picked up several Oscar nominations on Tuesday for “I, Tonya.” AGBO, is the production company launched by “Captain America: Winter Soldier” directors Joe and Anthony Russo.
“Assassination Nation” debuted in Sundance’s Midnight section, a part of the festival usually reserved for horror films. It centers on four teenage girls in a small suburb who take up arms after their personal texts and sexually suggestive selfies are leaked by an anonymous hacker. The film had attracted a lot of attention with buyers heading into the festival because it was seen as providing a feminist take on the revenge genre.
Crowds embraced the picture, but critics were more reserved in their judgement. In a mixed review, Variety’s Amy Nicholson said the picture was over-stuffed, writing, “Midnight audiences started whooping at the opening trigger warning that they were about to see sexism, racism, torture, violence, and fragile male egos, but the actual film feels like a Molotov cocktail thrown at a hazy target.”
“Assassination Nation” aside, it’s been a disappointing sales market. Netflix and Amazon, the streaming giants who could once reliably be counted on to drive up prices, have yet to purchase anything, and a lot of films are still looking for distribution. There have only been a few notable deals. “Colette,” a historical drama with Keira Knightley, sold its domestic rights for $4 million to 30West and Bleecker Street, while “Search,” a thriller with John Cho, was purchased by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions for $5 million. After that, it’s basically a buyer’s market.
Deadline first reported the sale. Endeavor Content represented the filmmakers in the deal. 30West, which recently purchased a majority stake in Neon, arranged the partnership between the studio and AGBO, and negotiated the deal on their behalf.