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Zach Braff may have had to worry about funding his Wish I Was Here, but now that it’s complete, he won’t have to worry about how people will see it. Focus Features acquired the film after its Sundance premiere, where the film earned several positive reviews.
Of course, Wish I Was Here got plenty of attention last year, since the former Scrubs star used Kickstarter to fund the project. It only took four days for him to raise $2 million after he announced the project in April 2013. He raised $3.1 million in a month and earned a Sundance berth in December.
The film, which is Braff’s first as director since 2004’s Garden State, earned positive reviews after its screening this weekend, although there were some negative voices on Twitter. The Los Angeles Times said that it proves that Braff is still a relevant filmmaker. It “has plenty played-for-laughs scenes and dry one-liners, also contains a strong swell of emotions,” the LA Times’ Steven Zeitchik wrote.
On Sunday, Deadline reported that Universal’s Focus Features label picked up the film for $2.75 million. It is the first big acquisition at Sundance. It will be released to at least 500 theaters and Focus has committed to a strong advertising push.
“We are thrilled to be in business with Zach Braff,” Focus Features CEO Peter Schlessel said in a statement. “Garden State was a huge benchmark in the world of independent film, and we are looking forward to continuing to support Zach and his unique voice. With Wish I Was Here, he has once again delivered a film that perfectly captures something essential about our lives, and presents it with the laughter and emotion we all recognize.”
Focus didn’t announce when Wish I Was Here will hit theaters.