“Don’t Think Twice,” Mike Birbiglia’s indie about a troupe of improv comedians, will be distributed by Film Arcade for a platform summer release, Variety has learned.
The movie debuted at SXSW last month to solid reviews, which resulted in bids from A24 and Roadside Attractions. But Film Arcade, which also financed the project, has decided to keep U.S. distribution rights.
“Film Arcade basically said if you release a movie with us, we’re going to let you tour the movie and not be day-and-date, and go as wide as the movie allows,” said Birbiglia, who wrote, direct and stars in the dramatic comedy.
“Don’t Think Twice” follows a group of New York comedians — played by Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Chris Gethard and Kate Micucci — who are trying to launch their careers on an “SNL”-like skit show. Cold Iron Pictures’ Miranda Bailey and Amanda Marshall produced the film. Executive producers are Film Arcade’s Andy Bohn and Jason Beck.
Birbiglia and producer Ira Glass (“This American Life”) intend to build word of mouth by embarking on a multi-city comedy bus tour with free improv classes. “There’s a sense in the industry now that the only movies that can go wide are remakes and superhero movies,” Birbiglia said. “I don’t know if that’s true. I think there’s a universe where a movie like ours, which harkens back to ‘The Big Chill’ or ‘Hannah and Her Sisters,’ character-driven comedies, can be in malls.”
Added Glass: “We’re hoping to get Mike’s audience and the audience for ‘This American Life,’ which comes out for our shows. And also regular moviegoers.”
Birbiglia and Glass previously partnered on 2012’s “Sleepwalk With Me,” and they were disappointed that the indie never played on more screens. “We are trying to approach distribution in an artistic way, which is rarely done with films of this size,” Birbiglia said, adding that he’ll bring the cast along on the tour.
And what about Lena Dunham? The “Girls” star was such a fan of the script, she makes a cameo in the film as herself. “Lena has committed to 300 cities,” Birbiglia joked. “You can put that in bold.”