Roadside Attractions is expected to acquire the breakout comedy “Hello, My Name is Doris,” starring Sally Field, for $1.75 million, the biggest deal from this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Variety has learned.
Roadside will handle the domestic rollout of the film, while Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions will take international rights. The movie will receive a significant theatrical release in 2016 in the United States.
The pic, directed by Michael Showalter (“Wet Hot American Summer”), tells the story of a 70-something cubicle worker (Field) who develops an obsessive crush on a much younger co-worker (Max Greenfield). It was produced by Red Crown Productions and Haven Pictures.
Field received an enthusiastic standing ovation for her performance when the film premiered last month in Austin, and several bidders–including The Orchard, Starz and IFC Films–expressed interest in the comedy.
“Michael Showalter has made a film with both great heart, big laughs and a bit of bite,” Roadside Attraction’s co-president Howard Cohen tells Variety. “Sally Field creates a totally original character. We think the film will work for both the older audience and a hip, young audience. It’s so great to see Sally with a full-blown leading role, and you remember how much she is a beloved national treasure film actress as well as a two-time best actress Oscar winner.”
“Hello, My Name is Doris,” which won the festival’s audience award in the Headliners category, had generated awards buzz, but Field won’t be eligible for next year’s Oscars with the current release strategy. But she could factor into the 2016 race.
The acquisition price shows that SXSW, a festival that started out with small comedies and genre movies, is maturing into a more diverse marketplace for sophisticated indie films.
UTA Independent Film Group handled the deal.