Sundance: Mindy Kaling Comedy ‘Late Night’ Sells to Amazon

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While many of us are still hooked on the Oscars for 2018, Sundance Film Fesival kicked off our next year in film. The festival always debuts films that we love for the next year. Whether those movies go on to become behemoths in the Oscar race is one thing, but genre hits and smaller films finally get a great spotlight. That is part of the reason why many of these features wait to sell until they reach the festival. This year, the big sale will go to “Late Night,” a comedy and drama from Mindy Kaling and director Nisha Ganatra. Amazon bought the feature for $13 million.

According to Deadline, what makes this deal unique is the $13 million figure only applies to the US distribution. While “The Birth of a Nation” sold for $17 million a few years ago, that was a worldwide deal. This means that the producers of the film will surely pass that number once international rights are locked into place.

Kaling, a veteran of television and film, wrote “Late Night” and stars in the film as well. The story of a female comedy writer, let alone a person of color, jumping into the late night comedy show game comes with drama. Kaling served as a writer on several shows, including “The Office” and obviously “The Mindy Project,” where she ran writers rooms. With a personal connection to the material, critics have raved over its commercial prospects.

Ultimately, the easy comp to make is “The Big Sick” from 2017. That film sold at Sundance to Amazon and went on to score a Best Original Screenplay nomination at Oscar. That is a partially fair comp, but look for it to potentially pull a “500 Days of Summer,” which took in a slightly higher box office. Regardless, keep an eye on Amazon and where they schedule the film for an awards run.

What do you think of Amazon buying “Late Night” for 2019? Will this be their big play in 2019? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below! 

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