A day after Fair Play sold to Netflix in a Sundance deal pegged in the $20 million range, another $20 million deal has come together at the annual film festival.
Apple has picked up Flora and Son, John Carney’s musical ode to motherhood that features a breakthrough performance by Eve Hewson. The feel-good charmer, steeped in Irish humor and flavor, premiered Sunday in front of an audience that was laughing, cheering and wiping away tears, all culminating with a standing ovation.
Hewson anchors Flora, playing a single mother jugging work and a challenging co-parenting relationship with her ex. In the Dublin-set feature about how music can re-energize life, she connects with her trouble teenaged son (Orén Kinlan) through a discarded guitar, and also forms a bond with her online music teacher, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Details of the deal were not immediately available but the reaction from buyers was immediate. Carney and his agents at WME huddled at the agency’s swank lounge on Main Street for a private post-premiere party when the initial overtures began to be made. WME Independent handled the deal along with Fifth Season, the company formerly known as Endeavor Content.
With the acquisition, Apple gets to keep Hewson in the company fold. The streamer is behind Bad Sisters, a black comedy in which the actress stars and that debuted in fall 2022 to strong reviews. Apple now gets to have a Hewson-led movie as the actress’ star is on the rise.
The movie is Carney’s first since his 2016 sensation Sing Street, which also premiered at Sundance. And just like Street, it too features original songs by Carney and his frequent collaborator, composer Gary Clark. Carney has become somewhat of a master of the musical drama movie business after breaking out with Once, the low-budget 2007 film that earned $23.3 million globally and won an Oscar for the song “Falling Slowly.”
The Flora sale follows Monday’s deal for dramatic thriller Fair Play, and Searchlight picking up mockumentry Theater Camp in the $8 million range.
- Sundance: John Carney’s Musical Drama ‘Flora and Son’ Sells to Apple in $20M-Plus Deal
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