Sundance already has a contender for the year’s biggest sale: “Late Night,” which has sold to Amazon for $13 million. Deadline first reported the high-profile deal, noting that the all-night bidding battle came close to matching the record for the ill-fated “The Birth of a Nation,” which sold to Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million. Amazon made waves in Park City two years ago when it bought “The Big Sick” for $12 million, a figure that Netflix surpassed with its $12.5 million deal for “Mudbound” at the same festival.
Nisha Ganatra directed “Late Night,” which stars Mindy Kaling (who also wrote and produced) alongside Emma Thompson and John Lithgow. Thompson plays a late-night talk-show host in the film, with Kaling as the writer hired to alter the dynamic of the all-male writers’ room.
In her B+ review of the film, which premiered last night at the festival, IndieWire’s Kate Erbland wrote, “Fair warning: Anyone who hates diversity, inclusion, or the possibility that a straight white man isn’t always the best fit for any job will likely hate the film, which uses classic comedic beats to tell a thoroughly modern story. If “Late Night” packs any kind of lesson, however, it’s that backward thinkers won’t prosper, and excellence and success are natural companions of advancement. Every comedy should hope to be this timely and clever.”
Erbland concluded, “Stuffed with truisms and heart, ‘Late Night’ is also the one thing that any and every late night talk show has to strive for: funny as hell, and with something to say.”
FilmNation, Imperative Entertainment, and Kaling Intl. produced “Late Night.” No release date has been announced.