With the 2018 Sundance Film Festival well underway, the biggest deal so far of this year’s festival has been completed: Sony has acquired the rights to the thriller Search for $5 million.
The film stars John Cho and Debra Messing, and follows a father’s search for his missing daughter through online detective work, with the whole film taking place from the point of view of smartphones and computer screens, not dissimilar to horror film Unfriended and recent Netflix Original Face2Face.
The $5 million deal is being seen as quite hefty for a film with two leads who aren’t hugely bankable stars and coming from a mostly unknown director, Aneesh Chaganty. The film was circled by six bidders though, proof that the inexperience, smaller stars and potential gimmicky set up was not a detriment to producers, who obviously see the film as a potential breakout hit.
Sony, or their Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions branch, has been busy at the festival thus far, also picking up Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik‘s drama, Leave No Trace, and Brett Haley‘s Hearts Beat Loud.
Reportedly though, it’s been a slow market for Sundance debuts and buyers are being a lot more cautious, weary of recent hit films at the festival that have ended up falling flat on their face when picked up and later released to the general public. As the festival continues though, expect more acquisitions and certainly expect the $5 million winning bid here to be surpassed by another film.