×
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

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Us Scriptwriter and Film-maker Larry Cohen

    Larry Cohen, Cult Horror Writer-Director of 'It's Alive,' Dies at 77

    Larry Cohen, best known for his work as a B-movie producer and director in the ’70s and his later work in screenwriting, has died. He was 77. Cohen’s friend, actor and publicist Shade Rupe, confirmed the news, which was announced in a post to Cohen’s official Facebook page. Rupe said Cohen died in Los Angeles [...]

  • Captain Marvel

    Box Office: 'Captain Marvel' Shatters $900 Million Milestone

    Brie Larson’s “Captain Marvel” continues to do heroic business. In its latest box office milestone, the female-fronted superhero tentpole zoomed past $900 million in ticket sales worldwide. “Captain Marvel” brought in a mighty $87 million globally this weekend, including $52 million from international territories. It has now generated $589 million overseas for a global haul [...]

  • Us - Lupita Nyong’o - cr:

    Box Office: Jordan Peele's 'Us' Stuns With $70 Million Opening Weekend

    Talk about scary good. Universal’s “Us,” the second directorial effort from Jordan Peele, pulled off a stunning debut, generating $70 million from 3,741 North American locations. That haul is enough to land it the second-best opening weekend of the year behind Disney’s “Captain Marvel” ($153 million). The psychological thriller about a family confronted by a [...]

  • SHAZAM

    Film Review: 'Shazam!'

    In “Shazam!,” Zachary Levi brings off something so winning it’s irresistible. He plays a square-jawed, rippling-muscled man of might, with a cheesy Day-Glo lighting bolt affixed to his chest, who projects an insanely wholesome and old-fashioned idea of what a superhero can be. But he’s also playing a breathless teenage kid on the inside, and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content