Carrey and McGregor star in the con-artist tale "I Love You Phillip Morris," one of the star-studded premieres announced Thursday for the independent-film showcase that runs Jan. 15-25 in Park City, Utah.
Also on the schedule: Ryder and Billy Bob Thornton in the drama "The Informers"; Gere, Ethan Hawke and Don Cheadle in the cop saga "Brooklyn's Finest"; Thurman and Minnie Driver in the family tale "Motherhood"; and Kutcher and Anne Heche in the gigolo story "Spread."
"I think it's the best premiere section we've had in the festival in years," said festival director Geoffrey Gilmore.
The general quality is higher this time partly because Sundance organizers pared back on the number of films in the premiere section to open up more screening time for movies competing in the festival's competitions, Gilmore said. Premiere films do not compete for prizes.
Other premieres include "Adventureland," a 1980s tale set at an amusement park and featuring Ryan Reynolds and "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart; "Shrink," with Kevin Spacey and Robin Williams in the story of a celebrity psychiatrist in crisis; the South African apartheid thriller "Endgame," with William Hurt and Chiwetel Ejiofor; and the time-shifting romance "500 Days of Summer," starring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The festival's opening-night film is the clay-animation feature "Mary and Max," with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette providing lead voices in the story of two pen pals, a lonesome 8-year-old Australian girl and a 40-something obese man in New York City.
Sundance's closing film is the documentary "Earth Days," a portrait of nine people at the heart of the environmental movement's origins.
Along with the high-profile premieres, Sundance announced films in several other categories Thursday, including "Helen," with Ashley Judd as a psychiatrist battling depression; "World's Greatest Dad," a comedy with Robin Williams; and "Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy," a documentary featuring Chris Rock, Bill Cosby and Keenen Ivory Wayans.
The 64 films in Sundance's four feature-film competitions for U.S. and world drama and documentary were announced Wednesday.
By David Germain