After its crowd-pleasing performance at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, HBO has picked up Bad Education. The drama, based on a true story, hails from writer Mike Makowsky (I Think We’re Alone Now) and director Cory Finley (Thoroughbreds), and stars Hugh Jackman in the lead. He plays Frank Tassone, a Long Island public school district superintendent who led a scam that embezzled millions of dollars from the district to cover personal expenses which became increasingly exorbitant; you can get the real-life story in part here.
HBO paid out upwards of $17.5 million for the picture which will arrive on the network’s platform globally, including streaming services like HBO Max. That’s certainly the largest deal of the festival, but it’s also under the $20 million asking price that the producers were aiming for, especially considering that Bad Education was touted as the most commercially appealing pic on the market at TIFF. Positive reactions and a strong supporting cast that includes Allison Janney, Ray Romano, and up-and-comer Geraldine Viswanathan gave the creative team behind the industry eyes for Oscar chances, but without traditional theatrical distribution, they’ll now have to shift their goals slightly. Bad Education should be an Emmy contender when it arrives on HBO in 2020.
In his review from TIFF 2019, our own Adam Chitwood praised Bad Education in his review. Here’s a snippet from just that:
There’s a lot to like in Bad Education, especially in the performances and how it gives Jackman a chance to show a different side of himself. It doesn’t entirely come together as a satisfying whole—it’s a tad long and the thematic ideals don’t completely coalesce—but Finley is able to craft a handsomely-made, compelling, character-driven feature out of this pretty crazy true story.
For all of our reviews and interview from TIFF 2019, check out this list here.