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

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Colin Kaepernick Kneel

    Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Settlement With NFL

    Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two football players who alleged the National Football League colluded to oust them from the game after they started kneeling in protest of racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem, have reached a settlement in the matter, according to a statement from the sports organization and lawyers representing [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Could Be in ‘Big Trouble’ Over Alleged New Sex Tape, Attorney Says

    Strong allegations of sexual misconduct have followed R. Kelly for 25 years, but the singer has always managed to slip free. Yet reports that a videotape of him sexually assaulting an underage girl, combined with the outcry surrounding the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” means that public sentiment, at the very least, is definitely not [...]

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    New Media Residuals and Feature Films Contribute to Spike in Writers' Pay

    The outlook for members of the Writers Guild of America has brightened — even amid pervasive uncertainty in the entertainment industry. According to the most recent report to WGA West members, earnings surged 2.8% to $1.41 billion in 2017, thanks mostly to gains in feature films and new-media residuals. Total covered earnings for WGA West [...]

  • Joe Dante Gremlins

    Hollywood Execs Seek Licensing Deals at the New York Toy Fair

    On Feb. 16 more than 30,000 studio executives, buyers and toy company reps will gather in Manhattan for the annual Toy Fair New York, all vying for market share and trying to snag the latest hot trend in a fast-changing industry. Those working the film side of the business will focus much of their attention [...]

  • Lady Gaga Bradley Cooper A Star

    Universal Music Group Fuels 11.3% Rise in Vivendi's 2018 Revenues

    Vivendi’s revenues were up 11.3% to €13.93 billion ($15.7 billion) in 2018, powered by Universal Music Group, which delivered such hits as the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack and Drake’s new album. UMG’s revenues climbed by 10% to €6 billion ($6.8 billion) compared to 2017. On top of the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content