Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American distribution rights to "The Queen of Versailles," the documentary that premiered to a sold-out crowd on opening night at the Sundance Film Festival, the studio announced Friday.
The Evergreen Pictures documentary is directed by Lauren Greenfield and executive produced by her husband, executive producer Frank Evers. It is based on timeshare developer David Siegel, his wife Jackie and the construction of their 90,000-square-foot mansion in Florida.
Controversy accompanied "The Queen of Versailles" to the festival. Earlier this month, Sigel filed a defamation suit against the filmmakers. He claimed that the promotional materials for the movie mischaracterized him and damaged his reputation.
The movie "brilliantly encapsulates the salient issues of the American economic downturn, while also being one of the jaw-droppingly entertaining films I’ve seen in a very long time,” Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles said in a statement. “Lauren Greenfield is an exceptionally talented filmmaker with a wonderfully humanistic touch, and she has found a truly magnetic, charismatic star in Jackie Siegel.”
“I am really excited to be working with Magnolia, who we huddled with late into last night,” Lauren Greenfield said. “I feel like we have found a true kindred spirit, who cares as much about our film as we do. I am really looking forward to working with such a smart, impressive team.”
A summer theatrical release date is planned for "The Queen of Versailles."
The deal was negotiated for Magnolia by SVP of Acquisitions Dori Begley, with Submarine’s Josh Braun and David Koh. Domestic television and international rights are in active discussion.
In other Sundance acquisitions news, also on Friday, Sony Classics picked up the North American rights to "Searching for Sugar Man," Malik Bendjelloul’s directorial debut.