EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has beaten out other suitors to take one of the hottest movie packages off the table, striking a domestic deal and more for Craig Gillespie’s Dumb Money from Black Bear Pictures.
This was pretty much the only pre-sale package of scale buyers were buzzing about going into Toronto. Talent were too. The project has attracted A-list cast including Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Sebastian Stan, Pete Davidson and Shailene Woodley. More names will be revealed soon.
Sony has committed beyond the U.S., also buying rights in Latin America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, South Africa, India and a handful of Asian markets. I hear their deal is worth close to $20M all in. Tom Rothman’s commitment to theatrical was a big plus during the negotiations, we hear. Sony has steered a bunch of movies to theatrical success since lockdown ended, including Spider-Man No Way Home, Uncharted, Where The Crawdads Sing, Bullet Train and others. The movie will still be available to a bunch of indie distributors in key international markets.
Currently in production and based on author Ben Mezrich’s book The Antisocial Network, the movie will tell the story of fortunes made and lost overnight in the David vs Goliath GameStop short squeeze which made headlines far beyond Wall Street last year. Pic will offer an irreverent and scathing portrait of how a loosely affiliated group of amateur investors and internet denizens crushed one of the biggest hedge funds on Wall Street, thus upending the establishment (for a time, at least).
Ryder Picture Company’s Aaron Ryder (Arrival), Black Bear’s Teddy Schwarzman (The Imitation Game) and Gillespie are producing. Script was adapted by Rebecca Angelo and Lauren Schuker Blum. I, Tonya director Gillespie is coming off Disney’s Cruella and is booked in for that film’s sequel.
Black Bear Pictures is fully financing. UTA Independent Film Group and Black Bear International negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.
There are obvious Social Network parallels here. Not only in subject and tone. Mezrich also wrote the source material for that movie, which was also released by Sony. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, memorably played by Armie Hammer in Aaron Sorkin’s hit, are even exec producers on this movie having been supporting characters in Mezrich’s Facebook story The Accidental Billionaires and main players in his sequel titled Bitcoin Billionaires.
I told a veteran buyer last week that Sony’s interest made me think of The Social Network. They replied: “But this is much more fun with more commercial and comedic dialogue.” That’s a potent package if so. The Social Network is a classic in my view.
Josh Greenstein, President of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group, told us: “Dumb Money is a classic David-vs.-Goliath tale about how Wall Street was beaten at its own game. It’s a story of our time and the story is timeless. We are excited to be working with Craig, who is a world-class filmmaker.”
“We have long been a fan of Craig Gillespie’s work and it’s fitting that the studio that brought you The Social Network gets the Anti-Social Network, plus we get to be in business once again with stellar producers Teddy Schwarzman and Aaron Ryder,” added Joe Matukewicz, Sony Pictures’, Head of Worldwide Acquisitions.
Executive producers include Michael Heimler, John Friedberg, Andrew Swett, Angelo, Schuker Blum, Mezrich, Johnny Holland, the aforementioned Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, and Kevin Ulrich.