Most films at the Sundance Film Festival aren't exactly what you'd call "mainstream", but when one emerges they tend to get snapped up pretty quickly and for large sums of cash. That was certainly the case with the coming-of-age comedy The Way, Way Back, easily the most accessible film of the festival. Fox Searchlight, who had worked with directors Jim Rash and Nat Faxon on The Descendants, paid a reported $10M to snag the rights, and now they've dated it for this summer on July 5th.
It's a high-profile slot that shows the studio has a lot of confidence in the film, which boasts a cast including Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, Amanda Peet, Annasophia Robb, and Toni Collette. The story is set during a summer vacation when the son of a single mother learns to stand up to her abusive boyfriend with the help of an amusement park employee. Most of the buzz will be surrounding Carell's darkest turn yet, but in general this is a "real crowd-pleasing charmer" as I wrote in my review.
Another film ready-made for multiplexes is The East, the latest from Sound of My Voice duo Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling. The eco-thriller, which was produced by the late Tony Scott, follows a corporate spy who goes undercover in an anarchist group. The film entered Park City already with a distribution deal in place, and now Fox Searchlight has dated it for May 31st. The East also stars Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgard, Julia Ormond, Toby Kebbell, and Patricia Clarkson. You can check out my review here.