You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto’s First Big Hit? Michael Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next’ Draws Heat from Buyers (EXCLUSIVE)

Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next” has turned into the first hot title of the Toronto Film Festival, with buyers staying up past 4 a.m. on Friday morning to gauge whether or not to pursue the documentary after its enthusiastic Thursday night premiere, Variety has learned.

The project has garnered interest from the major studios as well as specialized labels and studios like The Orchard, Lionsgate and IFC Films. The movie could end up making more money by selling territories to various players as opposed to one big worldwide sale, since it’s expected to perform well internationally.

On the other hand, Netflix is also among the parties interested, Variety has learned. Worldwide rights for the film are still available–and Netflix doesn’t buy projects that aren’t open in all territories, according to several knowledgable individuals. Moore spoke highly about the company during an after-party at Momofuku. “I think Netflix is the greatest invention since the history of the Internet, which enabled Netflix,” Moore said, with a chuckle.

Moore told Variety that his team was keeping him updated throughout Thursday night. A deal is not expected to close until Friday evening or later, as many studio chiefs and company heads have yet to see the film and sign off on a final offer. “They want us to wait,” Moore said.

The filmmaker’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” remains the highest-grossing documentary in history, having earned $119.2 million.

“Where to Invade Next” covers a range of topics from the benefits of female leadership to prison reform, making it a hot-button release at a time when Americans are gearing up for the 2016 presidential election. The film contrasts the U.S. approach to education, work weeks, and health care with European countries such as Finland, Germany and France. Critics are calling it one of his funniest films, and Moore said he had not received an emotional reaction to his work that was as intense since 1989’s “Roger & Me.” Executives say its commercial prospects are strong.

At the after-party on Thursday, Moore was flanked by well-wishers hoping to have their photos taken alongside the director. Partygoers inside and on the street pressed up to Moore to tell him how moved they had been by the picture.

WME is representing the sale.

More Biz

  • Singer-rapper Psy performs during the 70th

    YG Agency Boss Quits as K-Pop Scandals Expand

    Yang Hyun-suk last week resigned from his remaining positions at YG Entertainment. The talent agency he co-founded is deeply mired in a series of inter-linked scandals that stretch from drugs to prostitution. Problems started with the band Bigbang and its star Seungri, but now also encompass other YG artists. Hwang Bo-kyung was appointed as the [...]

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full power of pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at Mr. Purple, the rooftop bar at Hotel Indigo Lower East Side in Manhattan, Variety’s cover stars and luminaries gathered for cocktails and the unveiling [...]

  • Motown Seeks to Block 'O-Town' Trademark

    Motown Seeks to Block 'O-Town' Trademark

    UPDATED: The boy band O-Town briefly rose to fame in 2000, with a star turn on MTV’s reality series “Making the Band.” But the reformed group has just one obstacle to its efforts to trademark its name: Motown Recordings. The label’s parent company, Universal Music Group, is trying to block the band from registering “O-Town” [...]

  • Alyssa Milano

    Alyssa Milano Settles $10 Million Suit With Former Accountant

    Actress Alyssa Milano has settled a legal battle with her former accountant as the case was on the verge of going to trial. Milano and her husband, agent David Bugliari, filed suit in 2017, alleging that accountant Kenneth Hellie had forged her signature on checks, failed to pay overdue bills and taxes and allowed costs [...]

  • J Balvin ‘Amicably’ Parts Ways With

    J Balvin ‘Amicably’ Parts Ways With Longtime Manager Rebeca Leon

    J Balvin and his longtime manager Rebeca León have “amicably” parted ways, reps for the singer and León confirmed to Variety. The news was first reported by Billboard. León — who also oversees the careers of fast-rising Spanish singer Rosalia as well as Colombian superstar Juanes, with whom she founded Lionfish Entertainment — began managing Balvin early in his career [...]

  • Ann Sarnoff Headshot

    Warner Bros. Taps BBC Studios Americas Chief Ann Sarnoff as CEO (EXCLUSIVE)

    Warner Bros. has tapped BBC Studios Americas president Ann Sarnoff as its new CEO, a surprise pick that is sure to shake up the venerable studio. Sarnoff becomes the first woman to head Warner Bros. in its nearly 100-year history. She was under the radar during WarnerMedia’s search for a successor to lead the studio [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content