Sundance 2013: Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Festival Hit ‘Before Midnight’

Richard Linklater directed the third installment in the talky Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy franchise

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired “Before Midnight,” one of the best-reviewed films at the Sundance Film Festival. Richard Linklater’s film is the third installment in his series that began with “Before Sunrise.”

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy star as Celine and Jesse, two people with an undeniable attraction who run into each other for brief bouts of romance every several years. In this case, the setting is Greece, with the characters now in their early 40s.

Linklater wrote and directed the film, which premiered on Sunday. He also produced it with Christos V. Konstantakopoulos and Sara Woodhatch.

"In 1991 we were in Sundance with ‘Slacker’ and we witnessed the birth of a major American filmmaker. At Sundance 2013 with ‘Before Midnight,’ we have further confirmation that Richard Linklater is a film master at the peak of his form,” Sony Pictures Classic said in a statement. “This one has it all as entertainment and as a work of cinematic art. It is a perfect movie made by not one but three auteurs, Rick, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy. This movie will be incredibly successful around the world.”

Cinetic Media chief John Sloss, who was selling the movie, told TheWrap earlier this week that this movie had received the best reviews of any movie he’s worked on.

Indiewire’s Eric Kohn called it “masterful” in his review, writing that Linklaker “has completed one of the finest movie trilogies of all time.” He gave the movie an A+.

While it has a built-in audience, the conversation-heavy movie is not considered a potential box-office sensation.