Night House, The: David Bruckner’s Supernatural Thriller, Starring Rebecca Hall

Searchlight is acquiring the worldwide distribution rights to The Night House, a supernatural thriller that premiered to strong reviews at this year’s Sundance Film Fest.

Directed by David Bruckner and starring Rebecca Hall, the deal is valued at roughly $12 million.

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It marks the first major sale of the 2020 edition of the Park City festival, which has been stacked with topical content but lacking in market activity.

It’s also a hefty price considering that although Hall is an accomplished actress, she’s not a bankable star with international recognition.

The indie studio last scored with the 2015 pickup Brooklyn, which grossed $62.1 million globally and received a Best Picture Oscar nomination.

However, its 2016 purchase of Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation holds the record for biggest festival sale at $17.5 million. But as the movie was about to open, media reported on a past rape allegation from Parker’s past college years, and the film went on to gross only $15 million at the domestic box office.

In 2017, Searchlight acquired “Patti Cake$” for $9.5 million, which went on to gross a disastrous $800,000 in the U.S.

“A Hidden Life” from director Terrence Malick was purchased out of Cannes last year in a reported $12 million to $14 million sale. That title has only grossed $1.6 million in the U.S. to date and attracted no awards attention.

Two years ago, when Searchlight was still owned by 21st Century Fox, the studio began to move more aggressively into producing their own in-house movies such as “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” because they believed that prices at festivals had become inflated.