“Theater Camp,” a loving mockumentary about thespians starring Ben Platt and Molly Gordon, has sold to Searchlight following its premiere at this year’s at Sundance Film Festival. The deal, which is for worldwide rights, came together for $8 million and includes a theatrical release.
Gordon and Nick Lieberman directed the crowd-pleaser, which also features Noah Galvin, Jimmy Tatro, Patti Harrison and Ayo Edebiri. “Theater Camp” takes place at a scrappy overnight camp in upstate New York and begins as AdirondACTS founder Joan (Amy Sedaris) falls into a coma. In her absence, her crypto bro son Troy and some quirky instructors are left to keep the financially strapped theater haven afloat during the summer.
“We could not possibly imagine a better home for ‘Theater Camp’ than Searchlight Pictures! It is an absolute dream to become a part of their incredible and rich history that includes so many of our favorite films,” said Gordon and Lieberman. “This movie is about the joy of bringing people together in a room, and for Searchlight to see the importance of sharing it in theaters means so much to us. We are beyond grateful and thrilled.”
“Theater Camp,” which takes inspiration from Christopher Guest-style observational satirical comedies, played to an enthusiastic crowed at Park City’s Eccles Theater and received a standing ovation. At the premiere, Leiberman called the film a “labor of love” and Gordon shared the project “came out of us wanting to make something with our friends.” The movie was co-written by Gordon, Lieberman, Platt and Galvin, who are long-time best friends in real life.
“The film was birthed out of just wanting to make something together and being inspired by people who came up together,” Gordon told Variety prior to the premiere. “It just felt like this big friend hang that was also really hard and took 19 days and was a crazy thing.”
Topic Studios financed “Theater Camp” alongside Picturestart. Producers include Will Ferrell and Jessica Elbaum of Gloria Sanchez Production, as well as Maria Zuckerman.
“Making this movie with the supremely talented Ben, Molly, Nick, and Noah, the amazing Gloria Sanchez gang, and our friends at Topic Studios was a complete dream,” said Erik Feig, the founder of Picturestart. “The rest of the dream was to bring the film to Sundance where we would have an incredible screening and then got bought by Searchlight, who could bring it to audiences around the world like they did with other Sundance titles including ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and ‘Napoleon Dynamite.’ And NOW that dream is coming true! We cannot wait for this movie to play in theaters, with real audiences, brought to them by the uniquely gifted team of Searchlight.”
Now that weekend one has wrapped, the Sundance market is starting to heat up. Netflix just plunked down a huge $20 million for worldwide rights to “Fair Play,” a sexy thriller starring Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor. A few days earlier, Magnolia nabbed the documentary “Little Richard: I Am Everything” and Netflix landed “Run Rabbit Run,” a thriller starring Sarah Snook.
WME brokered the ‘Theater Camp’ deal with Searchlight executives Paul Hoffman and Chan Phung.
Deadline first reported the sale.