The Weinstein Company’s deal for U.S. rights to John Carney’s “Can a Song Save Your Life?,” starring Keira Knightley, carried a $7 million price tag along with a $20 million P&A commitment. That was far above the $3.5 million paid by Focus in last year’s top Toronto deal, “The Place Beyond the Pines.”
Focus stepped up this year with $7 million for worldwide rights to Jason Bateman’s dark comedy “Bad Words.” The thesp directed and stars in the story of a disillusioned man who competes in a national spelling bee via a registration loophole.
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions paid $2 million for “Life of Crime,” a full four days before it screened as the closing night film. The dark comedy stars Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes and Tim Robbins and is based on Elmore Leonard’s “The Switch.”
CBS Films, which made the biggest buy at the 2011 fest with “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” bought the Daniel Radcliffe-Zoe Kazan romantic comedy “The F Word” for $2.5 million. The banner also handled 2012’s “The Woman in Black,” Radcliffe’s first non-Harry Potter film role.
Year-old A24 made the first major deal at the festival, paying more than $1 million for North American rights to Steven Knight’s “Locke,” starring Tom Hardy as a man attempting to salvage his life over the course of one car ride. The film had premiered at Venice.
A24 also paid an undisclosed amount for U.S. rights to Toronto-set drama “Enemy,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Denis Villeneuve. The Canadian helmer also directed Gyllenhaal in Warner’s crime thriller “Prisoners,” which also screened at Toronto and Telluride.
Open Road and XLrator Media teamed to pay an undisclosed amount for North American rights to “All Is By My Side,” the Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Andre Benjamin and directed by John Ridley from his own script. Ridley also wrote “12 Years a Slave,” another Toronto title.
Open Road also paid an undisclosed amount for U.S. rights to Eli Roth’s “Green Inferno” after its Midnight Madness screening. Worldview Entertainment agreed to finance and produce a sequel.
Millennium Entertainment paid over $2 million for U.S. rights to John Turturro’s “Fading Gigolo,” starring Woody Allen in one his few films in which he did not direct. Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber, Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara also star.
TWC’s second-biggest Toronto deal was paying about $3 million for U.S., Canadian, UK and French rights to the two-film package “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her,” which tells both perspectives of a couple played by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy.
TWC’s third Toronto deal was for $2 million for U.S. rights to “The Railway Man,” a specialty drama starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman about a British POW who’s brutalized in a Japanese internment camp. Decades later, he sets out to confront the interpreters he holds responsible.
A24 was one of the most active buyers, paying more than $1 million for U.S. rights to “Under the Skin,” a sci-fi thriller starring Scarlett Johansson as an alien who sends hitchhiking Earthlings back to her home planet.
Well Go USA acquired U.S. rights to police drama “McCanick” for an undisclosed amount. One of Cory Monteith’s final roles, the film also stars David Morse as a hothead cop who put away Monteith’s character seven years earlier and discovers he’s back on the streets.
Relativity partnered with Blumhouse Prods. to buy “Oculus” for an undisclosed amount following its world premiere in the Midnight Madness section. Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites star as sister and brother who discover the cause of their parents’ deaths — a cursed, 300-year-old mirror. Director Mike Flanagan based the story on a short film he made on his laptop for $1,000 in 2005.
In one of the last deals of the festival, Roadside Attractions acquired U.S. rights to “Words and Pictures” for an undisclosed amount. The deal on the romancer starring Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche closed six days after the film’s premiere.