×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Slow dance for deals at Toronto fest

Handful of domestic theatrical pacts announced

At the Toronto Film Fest, the domestic acquisitions market is back on the dance floor, but the pace of dealmaking is more akin to a genteel waltz than an all-night rave.

On Monday, Sony Pictures Classics closed a deal at the fest for U.S. rights to Denis Villeneuve’s French-Canadian pic “Incendies,” a buzzed-about title that premiered at the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals before coming here. Entertainment One repped the pic.

A few years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for a pic to be snapped up within hours of its premiere at a festival. That all changed when the indie film biz took a plunge amid the the larger economic collapse in late 2008. Buyers have become far more circumspect.

Last year, the fall festivals were nearly devoid of domestic deals, but that hasn’t been the case this time around.

Only five days into Toronto, a handful of domestic theatrical deals have been announced; however, buyers are taking more time before inking a deal, while prices also are more modest.

Late Sunday night, the Weinstein Co. agreed to pay approximately $3 million in a multi-territory deal for Abe Sylvia’s dramedy “Dirty Girl.” It bought rights to the U.S., U.K., France, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The deal was closed as the film made its Toronto premiere, but the Weinstein Co. had been keenly interested in the film repped by Graham Taylor’s WME Global and international sales company Salt before the fest began.

Similarly, U.S. distrib Music Box Films was already negotiating for U.S. rights to Francois Ozon’s Catherine Deneuve starrer “Potiche” coming into Toronto. Music Box sealed its deal for the film over the weekend. “Potiche” first played at Venice.

There are a number of other Toronto titles in play for a U.S. distribution deal. Some could close before the fest ends, including one for Richard Ayoade’s feature directorial debut “Submarine,” a British comedy-drama that several buyers began actively circling after its Sunday night premiere.

WME Global and Protagonist are co-repping domestic rights to “Submarine,” while Protagonist handles foreign. Pic toplines Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins.

Ben Stiller, a fan of the script from early on and exec producer of “Submarine,” presented the pic at the preem.

Foreign buyers also are circling “Submarine.” Optimum has already snagged U.K. rights.

“Submarine,” directed by and adapted by Richard Ayoade from the novel by Joe Dunthorne, tells the story of a 15-year-old boy with 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.

A domestic deal for theatrical rights to Mike Mills’ Ewan McGregor-Christopher Plummer topliner “Beginners” also is in play. Rich Klubeck and Rena Ronson’s UTA indie division is repping the pic, which has drawn strong reviews since premiering Saturday.”Beginners” tells the bittersweet story of a man (McGregor) who learns that his terminally ill father is gay and has a young lover. Olympus Pictures produced in association with Parts and Labor. Melanie Laurent also stars.

Over the weekend, IFC Films inked a deal with UTA and WME for domestic rights to genre pic “Super.”

Domestic buyers are likely to eye another UTA-repped film premiering at the fest on Monday, Rachel Weisz topliner “The Whistleblower.” Voltage is repping foreign rights to “Whistleblower,” which also stars Vanessa Redgrave and David Strathairn.

Justin Chadwick’s “The First Grader,” about an elderly Kenyan man who decides to get the education he never had and goes back to school when the Kenyan government offers free schooling, is being eyed by a number of domestic distribs. Pic, penned by Ann Peacock, stars Tony Kgoroge and Naomie Harris. Goldcrest Films is repping “First Grader” worldwide.

A number of U.S. buyers are looking at scooping up domestic rights to Errol Morris’ latest, “Tabloid.” Josh Braun’s Submarine is repping domestic rights. Both “Tabloid” and “First Grader” played at Telluride on their way to Toronto.

Among genre pics, “Vanishing on 7th Street” and “Bunraku,” repped by CAA, are drawing interest.

Sony Classics’ deal for “Incendies” was negotiated by eOne Films Intl. exec VP Charlotte Mickie and SPC co-prexy Michael Barker.

The French-Canadian pic is based on Wajdi Mouawad’s play about twins who discover, after their mother dies, that they have a father they thought was dead and a brother they didn’t know existed.

Project was produced by Luc Dery and Kim McCraw of micro_scope and is a co-production with TS Prods. in association with Phi Group.

EOne has already sold the pic to France (Happiness Distribution); Germany (Arsenal); Benelux (Cineart); Italy (Lucky Red); Switzerland (Filmcoopi); Israel (Shani Films) and the Middle East (ECS).

U.K. buyers are currently circling the project here in Toronto as are other international territories.

Pre-Toronto, SPC snapped up rights to Dustin Hoffman and Paul Giamatti starrer “Barney’s Version” after it screened in competition at the Venice Film Fest.

More Film

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content