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Sundance: ‘Theater Camp’ Lands at Searchlight Pictures

The Hollywood Reporter 1/23/2023 Mia Galuppo
© Provided by The Hollywood Reporter

Searchlight Pictures has acquired Theater Camp, the mockumentary-style comedy from Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman, Ben Platt and Noah Galvin. The worldwide deal, pegged in the $8 million range, includes theatrical.

The ensemble comedy, which screened in the U.S. dramatic competition section at Sundance, is described as John Cleese by way of Broadway. It’s set in an upstate New York theater camp where the eccentric staff is trying to keep the camp afloat with the help of the owner’s crypto-bro son.

Gordon and Lieberman directed the feature, which stars Gordon, Platt, Galvin, Ayo Edebiri, Patti Harrison and Amy Sedaris, among others.

“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.”

Gloria Sanchez, Topic Studios and Picturestart are behind the movie, which was produced by Will Ferrell, Galvin, Gordon, Lieberman, Platt, Erik Feig, Samie Kim Falvey, Julia Hammer, Ryan Heller, Maria Zuckerman and Jessica Elbaum. Jeff Valeri, Shayne Fiske Goldner, Jimmy Tatro, Jennifer Semler, Michael Bloom, Alex Brown, and Mary Bundy executive produced.

“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 Feig, who produced 2022 Sundance standout Cha Cha Real Smooth, which sold to Apple for $15 million. “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.”

“We had the time of our lives making this movie with Molly, Nick, Ben and Noah and our friends at Picturestart and Gloria Sanchez,” said Ryan Heller, exwc vp film and documentary at Topic Studios. “David, Matthew and the entire Searchlight team’s enthusiasm for Theater Camp only reinforced that they are the ideal partner to bring this film to the world.”

“The raucous and resounding audience reception to Theater Camp is a testament to the charm, the wit and the joy of what Molly and Nick and the entire filmmaking team have created,” added Searchlight Presidents David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield. “We cannot wait to bring this inspiring and hilarious film to audiences in theaters around the world.”

WME negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

While the market at this year’s Sundance has been slow going, by Monday the sales started to heat up, with the news of the Theater Camp acquisition coming shortly after Netflix made a big play for Fair Game, landing the Sundance thriller for $20 million.

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