Sundance dealmaking: ‘Austenland’ sells to Sony

Published: January 22, 2013 08:36AM
Updated: January 24, 2013 09:42AM

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune l-r Ricky Whittle, James Callis, director Jerusha Hess, Jane Seymour, JJ Feild and Bret McKenzie pose for pictures before the premiere of "Austenland" at The Eccles Theatre screening venue during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.

Utah filmmaker Jerusha Hess and South Jordan author Shannon Hale can pop the sparkling cider: Their movie, “Austenland,” has a distribution deal.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Sony Pictures Worldwide Releasing has picked up worldwide rights to the goofy comedy, for a rumored price tag around $4 million.

The movie, which stars Keri Russell as a Jane Austen-obsessed woman who travels to a Regency-era theme park for a chance at Austen-esque romance, was for a while the subject of a bidding war between rival distributors.

Hess, famous for co-writing “Napoleon Dynamite” with her husband, Jared, co-wrote “Austenland” with Hale, who penned the novel on which it was based. The film’s producers included “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer.

Sony Pictures Classics will distribute “Austenland” in the United States.