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A “Catastrophic” Sundance for the ‘Cat Person’ Movie

Emilia Jones and Nichols Braun in ‘Cat Person’ by director Susanna Fogel.
Emilia Jones and Nichols Braun in ‘Cat Person’ by director Susanna Fogel. Courtesy of Sundance Institute
Matthew Belloni
February 13, 2023

Those breathless trade reports from film festivals can make it seem like everything’s a bidding war or a “hot package.” But the indie film market is brutal these days. Consider Cat Person, the comedic thriller based on the New Yorker story, starring CODA breakout Emilia Jones and Succession’s Nicholas Braun. After a splashy Sundance premiere, it’s been presented with some tough choices, according to an email from its sales rep that is circulating around town.

Agents Hildy Gottlieb and Brian Siberell of CAA, which represents Jones and screenwriter Michelle Ashford, sent an email this weekend to sales rep/financier Studiocanal and the co-sales group at UTA, cc-ing Agnes Chu of producer Conde Nast Entertainment and the talent reps, expressing “deep concern” about a Netflix offer for U.S. rights. The move would “certainly not be perceived to be talent-friendly,” and would “greatly diminish its chances to make its intended impact upon audiences, and will unnecessarily harm the reputation of a very fine film.” Talent wanting a theatrical release—that’s not unusual.