Searchlight Studios has nabbed U.S. rights to “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” a comedy about a widow who hires a sex worker that premiered at this year’s virtual edition of Sundance. The indie label is looking to push Oscar-winner Emma Thompson into the awards race and will debut the film exclusively on Hulu, its corporate cousin post-Fox’s sale to Disney.
The sale, which was for $7.5 million, comes in the middle of a lackluster sales market for Sundance movies. Cooper Raiff’s “Cha Cha Real Smooth” does have several potential buyers circling, including streamers, and other films are generating some interest. Sony Pictures Classics purchased “Living,” an awards-y film with Bill Nighy, and Nat Geo has been active, buying “Fire of Love.” Aside from that…glacially slowwwwwww-going. No wonder sales agents were bent out of shape when Sundance went virtual. It makes their job so much harder and nothing raises a film’s price like an enthusiastic premiere in the Eccles. But the reality is that box office receipts for adult films have been virtually nonexistent and more traditional studios are wary of overpaying for movies that won’t draw big crowds, at least while COVID is still upending the theatrical landscape. Searchlight smartly is partnering with a streamer instead of going for a standard exclusive run in cinemas.
This is Searchlight Pictures’ second Sundance acquisition following its purchase of Mimi Cave’s thriller “Fresh” starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan.
Sophie Hyde (“52 Tuesdays”) directs “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” with Daryl McCormack (“The Wheel of Time”) starring opposite Thompson.
In a largely positive review, Variety‘s Amy Nicholson praised the performances and called the movie a “riveting conversation piece.”
CAA Media Finance and Cornerstone brokered the deal with Searchlight executives Paul Hoffman and Chan Phung. Deadline broke the news of the sale.