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Toronto: Fox Searchlight in Final Talks for ‘A United Kingdom’ (EXCLUSIVE)

UPDATED: Fox Searchlight announced on Friday, Sept. 30 that the studio has secured North American rights to “A United Kingdom.” The film is scheduled for release Feb. 17, 2017.

ORIGINAL: Fox Searchlight is in final negotiations to buy North American rights to “A United Kingdom,” Variety has learned.

Amma Asante’s romantic drama centers on the political blowback that follows an African prince’s marriage to a London office worker. The mixed-race couple encounters prejudice over a union that challenged the system of apartheid.

The film received solid reviews when it screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, with many critics praising the performances of leads David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike.

Variety’s Peter Debruge faulted the picture as “overly simplistic,” but The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw hailed is as a “gutsy movie” in a four-star notice.

Pathe handled sales of the film. Footage from the film screened for buyers several months ago, and the reaction was mixed. A shorter cut, with roughly 20 minutes trimmed, screened at Toronto, which is the version that Searchlight will release.

Fox Searchlight also purchased domestic rights to “Jackie” out of this year’s festival. That historical drama about Jacqueline Kennedy is expected to be an awards contender. It wasn’t an entirely successful festival, however. Searchlight’s Sundance pick-up, “The Birth of a Nation,” continued to face controversy over the college rape trial and acquittal of its writer, producer, director, and star Nate Parker.

Elsa Keslassy contributed to this report. 

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