×

Hot Titles at Toronto Film Festival 2018

The Toronto International Film Festival is a launching pad for Oscar-hopefuls, but it’s also a thriving market. In the past, movies such as “I, Tonya” and “Still Alice” have scored major deals at the Canadian gathering, going on to enjoy critical success and awards love.

That’s always the dream. But for every “I, Tonya,” the festival is littered with examples of sales that sputtered out when the movies finally saw the light of day. Remember “Hardcore Henry,” “Top Five,” or “Begin Again”? Didn’t think so. However all of those films inspired bidding wars up north. Their failure is a reminder of the very real dangers of festival fever, the virus that encourages normally level-headed studio executives to keep sweetening their offers beyond the point of reason.

Which movies will inspire big bids at this year’s fest? Here are a few that have buyers buzzing.

HOT TITLES AT TORONTO
TITLE DIRECTOR CAST U.S. SALES AGENT
A MILLION LITTLE PIECES Sam Taylor-Johnson Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton CAA
BUZZ FACTOR: Anticipation is high for Johnson’s first movie since “Fifty Shades of Grey,” based on the controversial book by James Frey.
WILD ROSE Tom Harper Jessie Buckley, Julie Waters, Sophie Okonedo CAA, UTA
BUZZ FACTOR: There’s strong early word of mouth on this uplifting tale about a Scottish musician.
HIGH LIFE Claire Denis Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche CAA
BUZZ FACTOR: This set-in-space saga could be another feather — after “Good Time” — in Pattinson’s indie cap.
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF JOHN F. DONOVAN Xavier Dolan Kit Harington, Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandon CAA
BUZZ FACTOR: Curiosity is strong for wunderkind director Dolan’s first English-language film, set in Hollywood.
THE WEDDING GUEST Michael Winterbottom Dev Patel Endeavor Content, UTA
BUZZ FACTOR: This journey through Pakistan and India rests on Patel’s capable shoulders.
AMERICAN DHARMA Errol Morris N/A Endeavor Content
BUZZ FACTOR: The director of “Fog of War” gives Steve Bannon the Robert McNamara treatment.
VOX LUX Brady Corbet Natalie Portman, Jude Law Endeavor Content, CAA
BUZZ FACTOR: Following a strong reception at Venice, the movie about a pop star will look to make a deal on the Toronto market.
SKIN Guy Nattiv Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, Vera Farmiga ICM
BUZZ FACTOR: Bell gives a revelatory performance as a neo-Nazi in a drama that’s poised to be a surprise discovery of the festival.
THE HUMMING BIRD PROJECT Kim Nguyen Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård CAA
BUZZ FACTOR: Buyers say the film about high-frequency traders could be awards bait in the vein of “The Big Short.”
TELL IT TO THE BEES Annabel Jankel Anna Paquin, Holliday Grainger Film Constellation
BUZZ FACTOR: This drama about two women who fall in love in a provincial British town could be a critics’ darling.
*Compiled by Ramin Setoodeh and Brent Lang

More Film

  • The Great Hack (2019) - pictured:

    Film Review: 'The Great Hack'

    When I was growing up, we learned that the moral cornerstone of the First Amendment — the very essence of it — is that it’s about protecting the speech you don’t like. If the Nazis aren’t allowed to march in Skokie (a major test case in the 1970s), then a treacherous principle gets laid down: that [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Columbia Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Ads placed for the drama had an estimated media value of $5.71 million through Sunday for 997 national ad [...]

  • Circus of Books

    Outfest Film Review: 'Circus of Books'

    Rachel Mason grew up believing that her parents ran a small bookstore in Los Angeles. She wasn’t entirely mistaken, although the naive young woman — then an artsy teen, now a documentary filmmaker — never imagined that, as her mother Karen bluntly tells her on camera, “at one point, we were probably the biggest distributor [...]

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Box Office: Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Takes on 'Lion King'

    Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” will have to take on much more than a changing showbiz landscape. This weekend, the washed-up actor and his majordomo are battling Disney’s juggernaut “The Lion King” at the domestic box office. Tarantino’s R-rated auteur [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content