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Sundance: John Cho’s ‘Search’ Sells to Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has nabbed global rights to “Search,” a thriller starring John Cho and Debra Messing.

The film follows a father’s search for his missing teenage daughter, primarily focusing on his online detective work. The clues he picks up are found on her laptop. The film is shot from the point-of-view of smartphones and computer screens — something that sounds gimmicky, but a creative choice that apparently resonated with buyers who were circling the project. The deal was for a sizable $5 million. That’s a hefty price considering that neither Cho nor Messing are box office draws.

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has been active at this year’s festival, picking up foreign rights to Brett Haley’s “Hearts Beat Loud” and Debra Granik’s “Leave No Trace.” Otherwise, it’s been a slow market for Sundance debuts. Bleecker Street and 30West bought “Colette” with Keira Knightley, and studios are circling the likes of “Juliet, Naked” and “Blindspotting,” but buyers are being more cautious. Sundance has a history of having films play through the roof only to collapse when audiences see them outside of the thin Park City air.

CAA and Endeavor Content represented the filmmakers. Aneesh Chaganty directed the movie and co-wrote it with Sev Ohanian. It marks Chaganty’s feature film debut.

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