Neon, the studio behind newly-minted Best Picture winner Parasite, has purchased the buzzy Elisabeth Moss drama Shirley. Premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and directed by Josephine Decker, Shirley tells the story of a young couple (Odessa Young and Logan Lerman) who come to stay at the home of famed author Shirley Jackson (Moss) and her husband, Bennington College professor Stanley Hyman (played by Michael Stuhlbarg).
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Shirley is the second big Sundance purchase made by Neon. No specific numbers were dropped but apparently the studio bought Shirley for a number somewhere in the seven-figure range. This is not just a major deal for Neon, but for Decker, too. The arthouse director has been on the rise in recent years, moving from quiet indie releases including Butter on the Latch and Thou Wast Mild and Lovely to more prominent features including Madeline’s Madeline and now Shirley. This Neon purchase could also lead to good results for both parties as the studio now rides high on the prominence and prestige associated with having a film which has won not just Best Picture but also Best International Film, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. It’s within the realm of possibility that Neon can shine the same kind of light on Shirley in the coming months and get it the attention it deserves.
Neon also made headlines in recent weeks with its purchase of the Andy Samberg and Christina Milioti dramedy Palm Springs. The well-reviewed pic made history at Sundance when it sold for $17,500,000.69, the largest sale in Sundance history. This was especially huge considering Palm Springs was only expected to sell for around $15 million. In his review of Palm Springs, Collider’s own Adam Chitwood teased, “This is a movie that begins as one thing, but then very quickly becomes something entirely different—and it’s downright brilliant.” All things considered, Neon’s head seems to be in the right place when it comes to picking up new releases.
We’ll keep you posted on the theatrical release date for Shirley when it’s announced. In the meantime, check out our Sundance interview with Shirley star Michael Stuhlbarg and the Sundance review of Shirley from Collider’s own Adam Chitwood.