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

  • Bobby Robson Film Goes International With

    Bobby Robson Documentary Goes International With Dogwoof (EXCLUSIVE)

    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 […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    ‘Skyscraper’ Tops China Box Office With $48 Million Opening

    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 […]

  • ABBA performing as an unknown band

    The Secret Majesty of ABBA: They Were the Feminine Pop Opera of Their Time

    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 […]

  • Dwayne Johnson's 'Skyscraper' Leads China Box

    China Box Office Propels 'Skyscraper' to $75 Million Overseas

    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 […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    Box Office: 'Equalizer 2' Narrowly Edges Past 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' to Land at No. 1

    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 […]

  • Durban FilmMart Celebrates Women as Industry

    Durban FilmMart Celebrates Women as Industry Still Struggles With Transformation

    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 […]

  • MayFair, directed by Sara Blecher

    Sara Blecher’s ‘Mayfair’ Brings Feminine Gaze to Gangster Tale

    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