CATEGORIES Drama, Independent, Deals, Sundance, Lionsgate Films, Festival Reports, Distribution, Movie News, Sundance Film Festival, CinematicalOne of the minor eyebrow-raisers at this year's Sundance Film Festival was that the fest ended without its most acclaimed film being picked up by a distributor. That would be Push: Based on a Novel by Sapphire (not to be confused with that Chris Evans/Dakota Fanning super-power thing coming out this week), the harrowing drama that won both the grand jury prize AND the audience award -- a rare feat. Would it languish in obscurity and go straight to DVD, despite its critical and popular acclaim?
No! It won't! And as usual, we have Oprah to thank. Her production company and Tyler Perry's company will help finance distribution of the film, which has been officially purchased by Lionsgate. Lionsgate tends to be frugal in its marketing (at least in comparison with the bigger studios), hence the need for partners. Plus, the film is a hard sell: It's about an obese, illiterate Harlem teen who's pregnant for the second time by her father and who lives with her abusive mother. It's not the usual Lionsgate product (i.e., a Saw sequel) and not the kind of thing that will have a $20 million opening weekend.
But Ms. Winfrey and Mr. Perry evidently recognize its value, and don't worry -- since the film is already done, it's too late for either of them to mess it up. (Had Perry made the film, surely he would have played the overweight teenage girl himself.)
My rave review for Cinematical can be found here. But if my word and the words of Oprah and Madea aren't enough to convince you, look at what Variety, Film School Rejects, IndieWire, and the New York Post said about it. Lionsgate hasn't said when they plan to release it, but I wouldn't be surprised if they wait until fall and give it a push for awards season.