The Sundance Film Festival is always an exciting one to track, as little-known filmmakers and smaller projects can ride a wave of buzz into a big acquisition deal and later, critical and audience glory (see: Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station and Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild).
One of the festival’s most anticipated titles this year is Wish I Was Here, Zach Braff’s long-awaited follow-up to his adored 2004 comedy-drama Garden State. Although the film premiered to mixed reviews over the weekend (despite a standing ovation), Focus Features snapped it up for a reported $2.75 million. That seems like a pretty cool bargain, considering Garden State made $35 million worldwide (off a $2.5 million budget) and gained a big following on DVD. The studio beat out CBS Films and Lionsgate for the domestic rights, and will release the film in around 600 theatres later this year, likely in September.
Wish I Was Here is not a direct sequel to Garden State‘s story, but is a descendent of that film’s lighthearted, quirky tone. It stars Braff as thirty-something actor Aiden, who is struggling to figure out his career, his family and his love life. When his father (Mandy Patinkin) becomes ill, Aiden takes his kids out of private school and tries to home-school them. Rounding out the ensemble is Josh Gad and Kate Hudson, while Joey King and Looper‘s scene-stealing Pierre Gagnon play Braff’s children.
Tell us, are you excited to see Wish I Was Here? And what do you think about Focus Features picking it up? Let us know in the comments section below.