XLrator Media Acquires THALE:
XLrator Media has acquired U.S. rights to the Norwegian supernatural thriller Thale, which screens tonight in the Toronto Film Festival’s Vanguard section. The deal was sealed by the filmmakers and Barry Gordon, CEO of XLrator Media. The plan is to release early next year. Based on the stills from the film, featuring a hot naked woman with a tail, you can imagine this film will get attention and presents marketing opportunities.
Thale tells the story of a mythical “huldra,” a beautiful, tailed female forest creature, who is discovered in a concealed cellar by two crime scene cleaners. The creature is unable to speak so she can’t explain how she came to be there, but the pieces of the puzzle soon come together. She has been kept down there for decades, for reasons which will soon emerge. Someone is approaching from the outside. They want her back. The film stars Silje Reinåmo, Jon Sigve Skard, Erlend Nervold, Morten Andresen, Sunniva Lien, Roland Åstrand.
Millenium acquires “WHAT MASIE KNEW”:
Millennium Entertainment is closing a deal for North American rights on What Maisie Knew, the film by Scott McGehee and David Siegel that premiered last Friday at Roy Thomson Hall. Deal is worth around $2 million minimum guarantee. I hear that distribution heavyweight Bob Berney is consulting for Red Crown, which financed the film along with some private equity investors. Berney will help guide the film when it gets released next spring. Millennium Entertainment, run by Bill Lee, is coming off the indie success Bernie and has the Lee Daniels-directed The Paperboy upcoming. The plan is to try and replicate that Berniesuccess with a similar theatrical platform release.
The film stars Alexander Skarsgard, Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan and revolves around the 7-year old title character, played by Onata Aprile. She is caught in a custody battle between her aging mother rock star and her art dealer father. WME Global’s Mark Ankner is negotiating this deal with Millennium’s Lee and Tristen Tuckfield. It’s the third deal that the agency was involved in today. WME and Cinetic Media rep the filmmakers along with Oasis.
The filmmakers directed Bee Season and The Deep End, and this one was adapted from the Henry James novel by Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne, with Red Crown’s Daniel Crown producing with Daniela Taplin Lundberg, William Teitler, Charles Weinstock and Riva Marker.
Lionsgate acquires “MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING”:
Lionsgate acquired North American distribution rights to Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, the low budget film by The Avengers helmer that played at Toronto this past weekend. Lionsgate sister company Roadside Attractions is in the mix, as it was on Imogene and Thanks For Sharing.
The Shakespeare classic comedy with a contemporary spin stars Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese, Sean Maher, Clark Gregg, and Reed Diamond. Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group Chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, Lionsgate’s co-COO and Motion Picture Group President Steve Beeks, and Roadside’s co-President Howard Cohen were in the mix and CAA repped the filmmakers.
“I’m thrilled to be working with my cronies at Lionsgate again, and with The Roadside team,” Whedon said. “That they all embrace a Shakespearean romance with the same enthusiasm they had for Cabin in the Woods shows that they’re exactly the mad fools we want to be partying – I mean working – with.”
IFC acquiring “BYZANTIUM”:
In the second seven-figure deal so far today at the Toronto Film Festival, IFC is acquiring U.S. rights to Byzantium, the vampire film by Neil Jordan that has festgoers feeling the filmmaker has returned to the terrain of Interview With The Vampire. I’m told that the deal coming together is several million dollars in minimum guarantee and marketing commitment. While IFC has been heavy into multiplatform, this film has designs on a theatrical release broadening out to several hundred screens.
Scripted by Moira Buffini, Byzantium stars Gemma Arterton, Caleb Landry Jones, Daniel Mays, Jonny Lee Miller, Sam Riley and Saoirse Ronan. It is produced by Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen. The story focuses on two vampires who are on the run from the past and who are hiding a terrible secret.
It was another late-night deal negotiated by WME Global’s Graham Taylor and CAA made the deal with IFC’s Arianna Bocco and Jeff Deutchman. I’ll weigh in with more when I have it. As for the influx of deals happening today, all the buyers have now seen everything, and now it’s a matter of who gets what, just as…I…toldja!
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions acquire “THANKS FOR SHARING”:
In what is shaping up as their second big Toronto Film Festival deal in the last 12 hours, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have teamed to acquire the Stuart Blumberg-directed Thanks For Sharing. I’m hearing the deal is nearly done for an over $2 million minimum guarantee for U.S. rights with a commitment for a theatrical release and not a day-and-date VOD plan. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad and Gwyneth Paltrow, and it made its debut Saturday night at the Ryerson.
This follows last night’s Lionsgate-Roadside deal for the Kristen Wiig-Annette Bening comedy Imogene. Blumberg, who scripted this and also wrote the indie smash The Kids Are All Right, here focuses on three recovering sex addicts who, despite a history of promiscuity and raucous romps, struggle to maintain meaningful relationships among lingering temptations as they go through a 12-step rehab program. It’s Blumberg’s directing debut.
This was an all-nighter negotiation between UTA’s Rena Ronson, WME Global’s Graham Taylor and the Lionsgate team that should climax into a closed deal before lunch. While the dealmaking so far has been a bit lackluster, this stacks up nicely alongside the under-$3 million Focus Features paid for The Place Beyond The Pines, and the $2 million Dimension paid for Aftershock.
A lot of the acquisition titles are in hot play at the moment, but a fact of festival life is, the longer a sales title stays unsold, the more it becomes the domain of the dealmakers eyeing an Ultra-VOD multiplatform release. That won’t happen on Thanks For Sharing, which has been a hot buzz title since it premiered here.
Lionsgate and Roadside team for “IMOGENE”:
Lionsgate bought U.S. distribution rights to Imogene, the Kristen Wiig-Annette Bening dysfunctional comedy. They had been rumored as the buyers yesterday, but the sellers of the film put me off saying they were just one of several bids, and that will never happen again. The film played at Toronto to okay reaction last weekend. Lionsgate will put it out with Roadside Attractions, as they did last year with Margin Call.
Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman directed the script by Michelle Morgan.
Roadside acquires doc “STORIES WE TELL”:
TORONTO, September 10, 2012 – Roadside Attractions has acquired all U.S. rights to STORIES WE TELL, the latest film from Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Sarah Polley (AWAY FROM HER, TAKE THIS WALTZ) produced by Anita Lee from the National Film Board of Canada. Following the film’s rapturously received screenings this week in Venice, Telluride and Toronto, Roadside plans an early 2013 theatrical release in the States. In STORIES WE TELL, the acclaimed writer/director/actress weaves together a beautifully assembled tapestry of home movies, interviews, and narration to examine the repercussions of long-held family secrets finally coming to light. The deal was negotiated by Roadside Co-President Howard Cohen for Roadside and the National Film Board of Canada’s Christina Rogers on behalf of the filmmakers.
Focus Features acquires “THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES”:
I’m told that Focus Features indeed closed a distribution deal for one of Toronto’s hottest acquisition titles, the Derek Cianfrance-directed The Place Beyond The Pines. The negotiations between the Focus acquisition team and the sellers at WME and CAA went into the wee hours of the morning before the deal was made. I’m still trying to confirm the numbers, but it was a few million dollars commitment for a film that has gotten good reaction but which might need to be honed and trimmed a bit for maximum theatrical bang. The big question now is whether this will prime the pump and get the deal volume going. I’m hearing such good things about the acquisition titles that have screened so far that I’m going to say it is inevitable and that sellers and buyers have a lot of late night negotiations ahead of them over the next few days.
Here’s the official release:
TORONTO, September 9th, 2012 – U.S. rights to The Place Beyond the Pines, the
highly anticipated new drama from director Derek Cianfrance, starring Academy
Award nominee Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Eva Mendes, have been acquired
by Focus Features for a 2013 release. Focus CEO James Schamus and president
Andrew Karpen made the announcement today at the Toronto International Film
Festival, where the movie is having its world premiere. MORE
Radius, Participant and History team up for doc “THE UNKNOWN KNOWN”:
The Errol Morris-directed The Unknown Known: The Life And Times Of Donald Rumsfeld has been a hot topic ever since promo material for the controversial feature documentary was shown this year at Cannes. Now History Films, Radius-TWC and Participant Media in association with Moxie Pictures have come aboard for the pic, which The Weinstein Company label Radius-TWC will release theatrically sometime next year. Netflix and international sales agent Hanway Films also have joined the project, which draws on hours of filmed interviews and never-before-seen material from Rumsfeld’s private archive and looks at the Washington power player’s role in American history from Watergate to 9/11. The deals were negotiated by Submarine’s Josh Braun, who will also be an executive producer on the film; attorneys Sue Bodine of Cowan Debaets Abrahams & Sheppard; Peter Grossman of Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler & Feldman; and Participant COO Jeff Ivers.
IFC acquires “FRANCES HA”:
TORONTO, CANADA (September 13, 2012) – IFC Films announced today from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival that the company is acquiring all North American rights to director Mira Nair’s THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST starring Liev Schreiber, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, and Riz Ahmed in the title roles.
Based on the best-selling novel of the same title by Mohsin Hamid, THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST tells the story of a young Pakistani man (Ahmed) whose pursuit of corporate success on Wall Street leads him on a strange path back to the world he had left behind. Toronto festival programmers wrote: “a boldly dramatic adaptation of a remarkable, timely novel, Mira Nair’s THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST promises to be one of the most talked about films of the year. Mixing romance and tragedy with the classic arc of ambition thwarted, Nair brings Mohsin Hamid’s award-winning 2007 book to the screen with both passion and insight. She also delivers a cracking thriller.”
Cinedigm acquires “COME OUT AND PLAY”:
Cinedigm Entertainment Group has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Come Out And Play (El Juego De Niños), Belarus-born Makinov’s English-language horror film that made its world premiere last night at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival. Cinedigm’s theatrical distribution will commence in early 2013, with subsequent rollout across on-demand, digital and DVD.
Beth (Vinessa Shaw) and Francis (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) vacation before the birth of their child. Francis insists on venturing to a more serene locale, and Beth hesitantly agrees. They set out to a beautiful island, but soon discover it’s mysteriously abandoned and the only people on the island are children. Beth and Francis are left to uncover the mystery of the disappeared adults and a day in paradise quickly turns into a struggle for survival.
Written and directed by Makinov, Come Out And Play is produced by Mexico- and Los Angeles-based Canana. Pablo Cruz is the producer. Cloaking his true identity, Makinov wears a mask while working with his cast and crew, in an effort to enforce his personal vision of a cinema that detaches itself from the ego-driven model of the director.
“We’ll admit that at first we didn’t know what to make of Makinov,” said Vincent Scordino, VP Acquisitions, Theatrical, for Cinedigm. “That confusion ended upon seeing this provocative film. We can’t wait to introduce it to horror audiences, as well as anyone considering having children.”
“Canana is very excited to be working with a company that shares similar ideas and a passion for innovation,” Cruz says. “We can’t wait to see our film released in the U.S. by Cinedigm. And we know Makinov will be as happy as we are.”
The filmmakers were represented in the negotiation by Cinetic Media, and for Cinedigm by Vincent Scordino.
Additionally in the horror vein, Citadel, Ciaran Foy’s Irish agoraphobia horror film, releases from Cinedigm’s Flatiron Film Company later this fall.
Samuel Goldwyn acquires “STILL”
Toronto, Canada (September 14, 2012) – Samuel Goldwyn Films announced today from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival that the company is acquiring all U.S. rights to writer/director Michael McGowan’s STILL starring Academy Award® nominee James Cromwell and Academy Award® nominee Geneviève Bujold. Both Cromwell and Bujold deliver inspired and tender performances. After decades of playing supporting characters, James Cromwell gives a magnificent turn in his first lead role. Rick Roberts, Julie Stewart, Campbell Scott and Jonathan Potts round out the top-notch cast.
STILL is an exquisitely crafted and deeply affecting love story about a couple in their twilight years. Based on true events and laced with wry humour, STILL tells the heartfelt tale of Craig Morrison (James Cromwell), who comes up against the system when he sets out to build a more suitable house for his ailing wife Irene (Geneviève Bujold). Although Morrison uses the same methods his father, an accomplished shipbuilder, taught him, times have changed. He quickly gets blindsided by local building codes and bureaucratic officials. As Irene becomes increasingly ill – and amidst a series of stop-work orders – Craig races to finish the house. Hauled into court and facing jail, Craig takes a final stance against all odds in a truly inspirational story.
Goldwyn plans a 2013 release. Paradigm sold it.
Anchor Bay acquires “THE LORDS OF SALEM”
As the Toronto Film Festival draws to a close, a deal that has been in the works nearly a week has finally been closed. Anchor Bay Films acquired U.S. distribution rights to Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem, which debuted to a raucous crowd last Monday in the fest’s Midnight Madness section. The deal was worth in the $2 million minimum guarantee range, putting it in line with the deals that Dimension made for the Eli Roth-produced genre films Aftershock (which premiered at the fest) and Clown. Anchor Bay was the frontrunner all along, even though Image and Millennium Entertainment bid. After that, several larger distributors were in the mix, but Anchor Bay finally closed.
Scripted and directed by Zombie, The Lords of Salem stars Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Ken Foree, Patricia Quinn, Dee Wallace and Judy Geeson. Anchor Bay’s Bill Clark and Kevin Kasha reeled this one in.
HBO acquires “CASTING BY”:
TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2012 – HBO Documentary Films has acquired the U.S. television rights to Tom Donahue’s feature documentary film CASTING BY, it was announced today. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday evening to an enthusiastic crowd and will next be screened at the New York Film Festival.
Tom Donahue combines personal narratives from countless actors and directors including Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Jeff Bridges, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Lane, Jon Voight, Bette Midler and John Travolta, with extensive archival material to reconstruct the untold tale of Hollywood’s most invisible and unheralded profession.
Josh Braun of Submarine negotiated the CASTING BY deal on behalf of the producers – Genmaicha, CreativeChaos vmg and Our8s, with HBO.
Tribeca Film acquires “HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING DRUGS”:
TORONTO – Sept. 13, 2012 – Tribeca Film has acquired U.S. rights to Bert Marcus Productions’ How to Make Money Selling Drugs, which had its world premiere on Friday night at the Toronto International Film Festival. The provocative documentary offers an in-depth look at the high-stakes world of drug dealing and drug enforcement by blending authentic reportage with pop culture references. Directed by Matthew Cooke, the film reunites producers Bert Marcus of Bert Marcus Productions and Adrian Grenier (HBO’s Entourage), the team that created the breakout hit Teenage Paparazzo. Tribeca Film plans a 2013 theatrical release day and date with on-demand platforms, where it will be available in more than 40 million homes through a variety of video-on-demand offerings, as well as iTunes, Amazon Watch Instantly, VUDU and Xbox.
The deal was negotiated for Tribeca Film by Nick Savva, Director of Acquisitions, and by ICM Partners and Lawrence Kopeikin on behalf of the filmmakers.
MORE TO COME…