The Lonely Island gang is back with a new comedy called Palm Springs, and it just made a splashy debut at the Sundance Film Festival. So much so that the movie has sold in a deal with Hulu and Neon that is worth more than $17.5 million, setting a new record for an acquisition at the prestigious festival. There is no word yet on when the comedy will hit theaters, but this will put some immediate buzz behind the project, that much is certain.
According to several reports, Neon and Hulu acquired the movie from the group's production company, Party Over Here. It stars Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti. Palm Springs sold for $17,500,000.69, less than a dollar over the $17.5 million that Fox Searchlight paid for director Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation coming out of Sundance in 2016. Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Becky Sloviter of Party Over Here had this to say about the deal in a statement.
"We spent over $85 million of our own money on this movie, we are taking a bath on this deal. We hope Neon and Hulu are happy but we definitely have a lot of explaining to do to our families."
Palm Springs centers on Cristina Milioti's character, a self-destructive bridesmaid to her younger sister at a desert destination wedding. An emotional toast delivered by Andy Samberg's character leads to a meet-cute between them. However, a metaphysical event leaves the two of them with nothing to do but ponder the meaning of life, love, and more. It was directed by Max Barbakow and serves as his feature directorial debut. Andy Siara penned the screenplay. The cast also includes J.K. Simmons, Meredith Hagner, Camila Mendes and Peter Gallagher.
Neon will distribute the movie theatrically sometime this year. It will then make its debut at a later date on Hulu. The The Lonely Island, comprised of Sandberg, Schaffer and Taccone, rose to prominence during their days on Saturday Night Live. The group has since produced beloved comedies such as Hot Rod and Popstar: Never Stop Stopping. What's perhaps most interesting about the deal is that those movies weren't hits at the box office. With that, it would seem Palm Springs could be something special.
Splashy acquisitions coming out of major festivals have been large gambles in recent years. Last year, Amazon shelled out big money for the Mindy Kaling comedy Late Night, which ended up dying at the box office. The Birth of a Nation, when it was acquired, was viewed as a major Oscar hopeful, but only earned $16 million globally. Though, much of that had to do with the controversy surrounding Nate Parker, as a rape allegation from 1999 resurfaced, which became highly-publicized. We'll be sure to keep you posted as any further details on the movie, such as a release date or trailer, are made available. This news was previously reported by Variety.