Edgar Wright’s ‘The Sparks Brothers’ Acquired by Focus Features

Documentary about the Los Angeles pop duo Sparks made its debut at this year’s Sundance

The Sparks Brothers
Courtesy of the Sundance Institute

Focus Features has picked up the worldwide rights to “The Sparks Brothers,” the documentary from director Edgar Wright about the enigmatic and influential Los Angeles pop duo Sparks.

“The Sparks Brothers” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews, landing a 100% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The acquisition reunites Focus Features with “Baby Driver” director Wright, who also directed the upcoming “Last Night in Soho” for the distributor. Universal Pictures is distributing the film internationally.

Sparks is comprised of brothers Russell and Ron Mael, who have released more than 20 albums over the decades. They have proven to be highly influential, as they’ve dabbled in experimental ’70s pop and later synth dance music that has inspired artists across genres on the backs of albums like “Kimono My House,” “No. 1 in Heaven” and “Propaganda.”

And yet Wright’s “The Sparks Brothers,” his documentary debut, posits that this rock band is successful and yet criminally overlooked at the same time. To make that case, he speaks not only with the enigmas that are the Maelstrom, but he also assembles a cavalcade of celebrity fans, including Flea, Beck, Jack Antonoff, Jason Schwartzman, Neil Gaiman and many more. The documentary takes viewers through five decades of the Sparks’ career and lives and, in the process, Wright dubs them “Your favorite band’s favorite band.”

Wright also produced the documentary with his producing partner Nira Park though their company Complete Fiction Pictures, along with producers George Hencken and Complete Fiction’s Laura Richardson. “The Sparks Brothers” was financed by MRC Non-Fiction.

“It’s hard to imagine a better pairing of subjects and filmmaker than Ron and Russell and Edgar,” Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski said in a statement. “For the past five decades, Sparks have been pushing the bounds of pop music with iconoclastic style and a perpetual mission to try something new rather than relying on the tried-and-true. It’s that perseverance that has made them among the most influential bands in history. In telling their story, Edgar has crafted an absolute joy bomb that will literally have you dancing in the aisles whether you grew up following them or are just now realizing how much their sound already shaped your life.”

“I’ve had the privilege of seeing Focus Features do what they do best, and they are the perfect team to bring Edgar’s love letter to Ron and Russell to audiences around the world – we are truly envious of everyone who will get to experience Sparks for the first time,” Amit Dey, head of MRC Non-Fiction said in a statement.

The sale of “The Sparks Brothers” follows a record sale out of Sundance for Questlove’s own music documentary, “Summer of Soul,” which sold to Searchlight Pictures for $15 million.

Wright is represented by CAA and Nelson Davis.


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