×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto: Sony Pictures Classics Buys ‘Lyrebird’

Sony Pictures Classics has picked up rights to “Lyrebird,” the directorial debut of billionaire businessman Dan Friedkin, Variety has confirmed.

The pact is for North American rights and marks one of the only sales at an acquisitions market that could be charitably described as moribund. That could change if, as rumored, a deep-pocketed buyer ponies up for the Hugh Jackman-led school embezzlement drama “Bad Education.”

If that deal happens, it will be a welcome reprieve. The handful of films looking for distribution that have found a studio home include “Military Wives,” which Bleecker Street bought, and “Dads,” a Bryce Dallas Howard documentary that sold to Apple. It’s unclear if the films on offer have been lackluster or if companies are growing concerned about the financial viability of the indie space in the wake of box office flops such as “Late Night” and “Blinded by the Light.”

“Lyrebird” centers on a former Dutch resistance member (Claes Bang) who investigates the theft of art in the wake of World War II, specifically the sale of a Vermeer to the Nazis by a painter (Guy Pearce). The cast also includes Vicky Krieps and Roland Moller.

Friedkin, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes to be $4 billion, owns franchised distributor Gulf States Toyota, as well as the luxury management firm Auberge Resorts and Imperative Entertainment, the producer of “The Square” and “All the Money in the World.”

A committed film buff and pilot, he worked with the likes of Christopher Nolan and Clint Eastwood doing aerial coordination and flying planes and helicopters on “Dunkirk” and “The Mule.” Reviews for “Lyrebird,” which premiered at Telluride before screening at Toronto, were solid.

Variety‘s Peter Debruge wrote that “Lyrebird” is “…the kind of handsome, upscale night-out offering that still draws sophisticated older audiences to art houses — catnip for those who made ‘Woman in Gold’ a success, and a solid choice of material for this respectable English-language directorial debut by learned-from-the-pros producer Dan Friedkin.”

30West, the entertainment and sales company Friedkin launched with former CAA agent Micah Green, sold the rights. The distribution deal is for North America, as well as Latin American, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Middle East and Asia.

Deadline first reported the sale.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Benjamin Wallfisch - scoring session, Abbey

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch Signs With Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch has signed with the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency (GSA) for worldwide representation, in partnership with London-based agency COOL Music Ltd. A top composer, whose scoring credits include “It Chapter Two,” Shazam!” Hellboy,” “Hidden Figures” and “Hostile Planet,” among others, Wallfisch has worked on over 75 feature films and is a member of the BAFTA [...]

  • The Moneychanger

    Toronto Film Review: ‘The Moneychanger’

    Uruguayan auteur Federico Veiroj (“The Apostate,” “Belmonte”) broadens his usual intimate dramatic scope to diminishing returns for his fifth feature, “The Moneychanger,” . Adapted from a novella by compatriot Juan Enrique Gruber, the period (mid-1950s to mid-1970s) tale centers on the eponymous character, an amoral currency exchanger, who winds up laundering some of the dirtiest [...]

  • Send Me to the Clouds

    Film Review: ‘Send Me to the Clouds’

    The social and economic pressures felt by China’s “leftover women” — referring to those older than 26 and unmarried — are examined in “Send Me to the Clouds,” a rewarding dramedy about a 30-ish journalist seeking financial reward and sexual fulfillment after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Bold by mainland standards for presenting a positive [...]

  • Jamie Bell Without Remorse

    Jamie Bell Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jamie Bell is in final negotiations to join Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel “Without Remorse.” Stefano Sollima, who most recently helmed “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” is directing from a script by “Sicaro” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. As previously announced, Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known [...]

  • Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter,

    'Downton Abbey' Movie Sequel? Producers Tease That They Have 'Some Ideas'

    “Downton Abbey” holds the record as the most-nominated international show at the Emmy Awards with 69 nominations and 15 wins — and now, it stands a chance to nab an Oscar. More than three years after the beloved series signed off the air following six critically-acclaimed seasons, “Downton Abbey” is making its big-screen debut. “It [...]

  • Todd Phillips Joaquin Phoenix Joker Movie

    What's Woker Than 'Joker'? Film Critics Made Everything Political at Fall Festivals

    “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” asks Joaquin Phoenix, playing a deranged incel version of the DC supervillain in “Joker,” the unconventional comic book movie that’s sucked up much of the air from the fall festival circuit. Like an aggro caricature of the “involuntary celibates” who troll message boards online, [...]

  • Running Against the Wind

    Young Africans' Dreams Are Focus of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda Oscar Picks

    Films about young Africans trying to fulfill their dreams in the face of war, poverty, tradition and other forms of adversity have been submitted for Oscar consideration by three East African nations. The selections by Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda to compete in the international feature film category reflect the relative youth of filmmaking in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content