On the Count of Three, the feature directorial debut of stand-up comedian Jerrod Carmichael, could count on being picked up for distribution soon after its buzzy premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. A potent drama that premiered to raves in the Dramatic Competition section and won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for its writers, Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch, On the Count of Three has been acquired by Annapurna Pictures in a hefty deal worth millions.
Annapurna Pictures has acquired the North American rights to On the Count of Three in a deal worth $2 million. The drama, which stars Carmichael and Christopher Abbott as two best friends who form a suicide pact, will be released through Annapurna’s distribution deal with MGM’s Orion Pictures through United Artists Releasing.
A $2 million deal is an impressive price tag for any Sundance darling, though it doesn’t come close to this year’s record-setter CODA, which was bought by Apple for a whopping $25 million. But considering the praise that On the Count of Three received, it’s no surprise it got snapped up so quickly.
The film, which also stars Tiffany Haddish, JB Smoove, Lavell Crawford, and Henry Winkler, debuted to rave reviews at this year’s Sundance, including one from /Film’s Ethan Anderton, who wrote in his review, “Carmichael brings an energy to the camera that feels like a more subdued version of a Safdie Brothers film (which still makes for quite a frenzy), and that’s bolstered by the script written by Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch. While these misadventures could have easily resulted in a more chaotic sort of indie that loses focus, they’ve kept the attention squarely on the characters and each part of this wild day serves their arc in some kind of meaningful way. Somehow, this movie makes light out of total darkness without losing any of the heaviness that comes with it. If Carmichael can do something so bold in his directorial debut, I’m very much looking forward to what he does next.”
On the Count of Three producer Adam Paulsen, of Valparaiso Pictures, praised Annapurna Pictures chief Megan Ellison for picking up the movie, saying in a statement, “Megan [Ellison’s] commercial vision for daring independent films is unparalleled, and we couldn’t feel luckier to find a home with her. I was fortunate enough early in my career to witness firsthand how she championed Spring Breakers in a way no one else saw, and most recently on Sorry to Bother You and countless others.”
On the Count of Three is a co-production of Valparaiso Pictures and Werner Entertainment and along with Paulsen, it was produced by David Carrico, Tom Werner, Jake Densen, Carmichael, Ari Katcher, and Jimmy Price. Executive producers include Christopher Storer, Michael Baker, Tyson Bidner, Ryan Welch, Pete Dakich, and Mike Roberts.
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