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Weinsteins win ‘Submarine’ bidding war

Deal is just shy of seven figures

In its second major buy at the Toronto Film Festival, a reinvigorated Weinstein Co. has picked up North American rights to British coming-of-age comedy “Submarine” following a heated bidding war that went into the early hours of Wednesday.

Deal is just shy of seven figures, plus a major marketing commitment. Pic marks the feature directorial debut of Richard Ayoade.

WME Global’s Graham Taylor and Mark Anknerrepped domestic rights. Protagonist’s Ben Roberts co-repped rights with WME. Trio worked until 5 a.m. Wednesday to close the deal, fielding five or six offers.

Pic, toplining Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins, was exec produced by Ben Stiller, a fan of the script from early on.

Deal was brokered for the Weinstein Co. by company COO David Glasser and the Weinstein Co.’s Peter Lawson and Laine Kline.

“Submarine,” adapted by Ayoade from the novel by Joe Dunthorne, tells the story of a 15-year-old boy wih a two-fold goal: to lose his virginity by his next birthday, and stop his mother from leaving his father for a motivational speaker.

“Submarine” is produced by Brit-based Warp Films.

Other buyers circling the pic included Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, Fox Searchlight and IFC Films. It’s not clear whether they were among those making actual offers. Filmmakers and the pic’s reps wouldn’t comment.

Deal is a further sign of the Weinstein Co.’s reemergence after its recent restructuring and new infusion of funds. Company COO David Glasser is said to be a deliberate dealmaker, working with Harvey Weinstein to make sure a film meets the companys goals, as well as have a specific marketing and release plan.

Earlier in the week, the Weinstein Co. picked up domestic and major territory rights to “Dirty Girl.”

WME Global also repped that film. Indie group has had a prosperous Toronto, also selling rights to “Super,” which it co-repped with Rich Klubeck and Rena Ronsons UTA indie group. WME Global has further used the fest to close financing on at least two films, “Rampart” and Mickey Rourke mob pic “The Ice Man: Confessions of a Contract Killer.”

The Weinstein Co. is planning a 2011 release for “Submarine, which also stars Paddy Considine and newcomers Craig Roberts and Yasmin Page.

Producers are Andy Stebbing, Mark Herbert and Mary Burke. It is backed by Film4, the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund, Wales Creative IP Fund and Film Agency Wales. Executive producers are Stiller through his Red Hour Films, Stuart Cornfeld, Jeremy Kramer, Tessa Ross, Peter Carlton, Will Clarke, Linda James, Pauline Burt and Paul Higgins.

Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales, and are in negotiations on other major territories. Optimum Releasing will release the film in the UK.

Other titles in play at Toronto for a domestic deal on Wednesday morning included the UTA-repped “Beginners” and James Wan’s “Insidious,” which Sony Worldwide is in advanced talks to pick up following the film’s premiere Tuesday night.

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