Focus Features nabs ‘Beginners’

Pic by helmer Mike Mills to be released in 2011

Stepping into the Toronto fray, Focus Features has picked up U.S. and most territory rights to Mike Mills’ Ewan McGregor-Christopher Plummer dramedy “Beginners.”

Pic will be released in 2011.

Pact for the UTA-repped pic comes amid the busiest acquisitions market in recent years for any festival. A number of pacts were closed on the ground at Toronto, but dealmaking continued in earnest over the weekend.

Earlier on Sunday, Oscilloscope Laboratories acquired North American rights to Jalmari Helander’s “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale.”

UTA Independent Film Group’s Rich Klubeck and Rena Ronson–who has extensive experience in international sales–took a unique approach in selling “Beginners” by handling foreign rights, as well as domestic.

UTA had already sold Canada, France, Australia, Scandinavia and Benelux when Focus inked its deal for the U.S. and all remaining territories. Focus Features Intl. will handle foreign sales.

Focus’ gross corridor deal also includes a marketing commitment of roughly $2 million.

Produced by Olympus Pictures and Parts and Labor, “Beginners” explores the hilarity, heartbreak and surprises of a son’s discovery father that his dying father is gay.

Producers are Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Miranda de Pencier, Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy.

Focus’ Avy Eschenasy negotiated on behalf of Focus.

On Saturday, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate finalized a deal for U.S. rights to Will Ferrell drama “Everything Must Go,” from director Dan Rush, while IFC Films snagged domestic rights to “Peep World.”

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