indieWIRE posted a news item on Saturday evening that Sony Classics was in the process of closing a deal for North American rights to the film. Anne Thompson at Variety confirmed that the deal closed, and also pointed to three sites that had issues with Sony Classics: Neil Miller (Film School Rejects), Peter Sciretta (Slashfilm) and Alex Billington (First Showing). Other writers have also weighed in: Edward Douglas (ComingSoon.net) and Josh Tyler (Cinema Blend). The complaint is that Sony Classics has had a poor track record over the past couple of years and someone like Fox Searchlight would do a better job with marketing a film that critics think needs to be seen.
Sony Classics has long followed the traditional, platform method of releasing arthouse films, a strategy that has paid off big time in the past and that tends to minimize losses if a particular title doesn't catch on. It can be frustrating if you don't live in New York or Los Angeles (it took Persepolis seven weeks before it reached my area). Fox Searchlight also platforms, but is usually quicker to take a release wide. They also seem more willing to spend more money on TV and Internet advertising. Juno is a huge success, but that's a once-a-year (if you're lucky) phenomenon. We'll see how Sony Classics does with The Wackness.