UPDATE: As Deadline’s Mike Fleming reported from Toronto on Wednesday, TWC was nearing a deal to acquire U.S. and multiple territories on The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers and The Weinstein Company just made it official. See today’s release below the original break.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: In its second big deal of the Toronto Film Festival, The Weinstein Company is near a deal to acquire U.S. and multiple territories on The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers. I hear the deal is around $3 million and covers U.S., Canada, UK and France for the Ned Benson-directed film that stars Jessica Chastain, William Hurt, Viola Davis, James McAvoy, Ciarin Hinds, Isabelle Huppert, Jess Weixler and Nina Arianda. The structure on this one is unusual. It’s the story of a married couple that experiences a difficult time in their relationship, as seen in two films. One is through the eyes of the husband, and the other is from the wife’s perspective. The picture made its debut Monday at the Elgin, and the deal is being brokered by WME Global and the TWC team led by Harvey Weinstein and David Glasser and, as has been the case on most of these deals, they went at it all night. Read More »
Breaking Glass Pictures has picked up North American rights at Toronto to the documentary Unhung Hero from Films Sales Company. The film, which premiered at SXSW in March, follows a man whose girlfriend rejects his marriage proposal, which was shown live on the big screen at a UCLA basketball game. Days later Patrick Moote finds out the woman turned him down because he has a small penis. Director Brian Spitz then follows Moote on a journey to find out whether size really does matter. Thomas Brettschneider and Lynn Shmitz produced the film.
Entertainment One has sold Le Démantèlement to Film Movement for the U.S. and world airline rights. The film is in the Contemporary World Cinema section at TIFF and won the SACD Prize in Cannes’ Critics’ Week. It tells the story of Gaby, a farmer rearing beautiful lambs on his family property. His daughters, raised like princesses, live far away in the big city. When the eldest asks for money to avoid the loss of her home, Gaby decides to liquidate his beloved farm. Gabriel Arcand, Gilles Renaud, Lucie Laurier and Sophie Desmarais star for director Sébastien Pilote.
UPDATE, 2:40 PM: The Weinstein Company just made this deal official (see the release below the original break).
PREVIOUS BREAKING, 10:37 AM: Harvey Weinstein has done it again. The Weinstein Company is acquiring U.S. distribution rights for around $2 million to The Railway Man, director Jonathan Teplitzky’s drama that stars Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. It’s the true story about a British Army officer who is tormented at a Japanese POW camp. Decades later, he discovers the Japanese interpreter responsible for the brutality is alive. He sets out to confront him and his haunting past. The deal for the film, which premiered Friday at Roy Thompson Hall, was brokered by CAA. Andy Paterson and Chris Brown produced. It’s the third buy for TWC after the John Carney-directed Can A Song Save Your Life? and The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers. All of them will be released in 2014. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Abdellatif Kechiche, who is here in Toronto with Blue Is The Warmest Color. That film won the Palme d’Or and FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival, taking the top honor in a unanimous vote by the jury headed by Steven Spielberg. The film is the story of the birth of a relationship between a lesbian couple. Kechiche’s previous directing credits include Blame It On Voltaire, Games Of Love And Chance and Black Venus.
Related: ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Gets NC-17 Rating In U.S.
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions are nearing a deal for a tag-team release of Life Of Crime, Daniel Schechter’s black comic adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s book The Switch. The deal will be for U.S. rights and it will be worth several million dollars. I will try to get more specific when it closes. The film stars Jennifer Aniston, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Isla Fisher, Will Forte, Mark Boone Junior, Tim Robbins and John Hawkes. The picture’s World Premiere at Toronto doesn’t happen until Saturday night, when it plays as the closing-night film of the Toronto Film Festival. It has screened for buyers and press and industry.
Related: A Replay Of A Few Minutes With The Late, Great Elmore Leonard
The film features some of the characters from the Quentin Tarantino-directed Jackie Brown, which was based on the Leonard novel Rum Punch. This one takes place 15 years earlier when career criminals Ordell (Bey) and Louis (Hawkes) team up to kidnap the wife (Aniston) of a corrupt Detroit real estate developer (Robbins). The husband refuses to pay the ransom for his wife’s return and the ex-cons are forced to figure out a Plan B to get paid.
Lionsgate and Roadside have done several successful collaborations that include Margin Call and Arbitrage, and Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. Those are among the most successful multi-platform releases, but I’m hearing this will likely be a theatrical release. There is certainly a strong cast here. Schechter told me recently that he wrote the script on spec and then was invited by the author (his idol) to hunt down the rights to The Switch because he and Michael Siegel couldn’t remember where they were. Two years later, Schechter collared those rights and got Leonard’s blessing to move forward. Schechter was eager to show the film to Leonard but the author died at 87 a week before Schechter got the film finished. Leonard would have been in attendance at Saturday’s premiere as well. Read More »
The cop drama McCanick had its world premiere Monday at Toronto and the indie drama is the final film of Cory Monteith, the Glee star who died in July of a drug overdose. Well Go USA has picked up all U.S. rights (theatrical, non-theatrical, home video, television, digital/electronic) from Bleiberg Entertainment and the plan is to release the pic theatrically next year. Monteith plays Simon Weeks, a drug addicted criminal whose release from prison triggers paranoia and violence in narcotics detective Eugene “Mack” McCanick (David Morse), who has a secret from his past that only Weeks can expose. Ciaran Hinds, Mike Vogel, Rachel Nichols, Trevor Morgan, Aaron Yoo, and Tracie Thoms co-star in the pic directed by Josh C. Waller and written by Daniel Noah. (Check out the trailer here.) The producers were repped in the deal by Nate Bolotin of XYZ Films with company president Doris Pfardrescher repping Well Go USA.
Related: Toronto: APA Signs ‘McCanick’ Helmer Josh Waller
Image Entertainment and The Film Arcade have teamed to pick up the fantasy actioner The Adventurer: The Curse Of The Midas Box. Jonathan Newman directed the $25M pic adapted from G.P. Taylor’s bestseller Mariah Mundi And The Midas Box. Michael Sheen, Lena Headey, Sam Neill, Ioan Gruffud, and Aneurin Barnard star in the adventure about a 17-year-old hero who tracks his missing family to the mysterious Prince Regent Hotel only to discover a realm of child-stealing monsters, deadly secrets and a long-lost artifact that grants limitless wealth – but also devastating supernatural power. An Ultra VOD fourth-quarter 2014 debut is planned with a theatrical run in LA, NY, and major markets nationwide to follow via The Film Arcade. Image will handle all other rights. Karl Richards, Ibon Cormenzana, Ignasi Estapé and Peter Bevan are producers on the project. The deal was negotiated in Toronto by Mark Ward and Bromiley on behalf of RLJ Entertainment and Dreamcatchers’ Marina Fuentes and The Exchange’s Brian O’Shea and Nat McCormick on behalf of the filmmakers.
EXCLUSIVE: Corsan NV has made a deal with financier/producer Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films that will see Corsan invest $125 million in EFO slate films that include the Martin Scorsese-directed Silence, the Bruce Willis-starrer Expiration, the Vin Diesel-starrer The Last Witch Hunter, Scorsese’s The Irishman and the Baltasar Kormakur-directed Everest.
The funding alliance was made by Randall Emmett and George Furla with Corsan NV CEO Paul Breuls. The first film is Everest, which starts production in November and which is being produced by Working Title and released domestically by Universal. The film will star Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Corsan president of International Sales Pascal Borno and Alain Gillissen have begun selling international territories here at Toronto on Expiration, which begins production January with Willis starring. Next to go into production will be Last Witch Hunter, with Breck Eisner directing Diesel and Lionsgate releasing. Production will begin in March. Read More »
The latest battle in the theater etiquette wars went down Monday in Toronto — of all places, in a Press & Industry screening that pitted press vs. the fest and ended in a call to 911. Shortly after the P&I screening of Ti West’s new thriller The Sacrament began, FirstShowing.net blogger Alex Billington made numerous complaints to festival reps that a patron in the first row was holding a cell phone up towards the screen. When officials refused to take action, Billington called 911 to report a crime of piracy in progress; the 911 dispatcher laughed at Billington’s complaint and the blogger admits now it was a “mistake” to call emergency services instead of a non-emergency number.
The flap is making headlines for Billington’s 911 call, but it revives the hot-button debate over movie theater talking and texting. Sanctioned cell phone use in movies sparked controversy last year at CinemaCon when theater chain owners floated the idea of letting patrons text during screenings. And another journalist in attendance Monday said it appeared the offender was taking pictures of the screen. But Billington says he was told by festival reps that it’s an “unwritten policy” to allow use of any and all devices in P&I screenings. This despite TIFF’s warning ahead of both P&I screenings and public screenings that forbids cell phone use during films. Read More »
Cohen Media Group has acquired North American distribution on The Last Of The Unjust, the documentary that’s playing Toronto and will follow with a New York Film Festival berth. The film is directed by Shoah helmer Claude Lanzmann and will be released theatrically next year after a qualifying run for the Oscars. The film reveals a little-known yet fundamental aspect of the Holocaust, and sheds light on the origins of the “Final Solution.” Lanzmann tells the story of the Theresienstadt concentration camp (located in what is now the Czech Republic), where tens of thousands died and many more were held before being sent to their deaths at Treblinka, Auschwitz and other camps.
The central figure in the film is Benjamin Murmelstein, the last president of the Theresienstadt Jewish Council, a fallen hero condemned to exile. He was forced to negotiate day after day from 1938 until the end of the war with Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, who considered Theresienstadt a “model” camp. The director got the idea after interviewing Lanzmann for the 1985 pic Shoah, but didn’t have room for it in that movie. Here, Murmelstein explains his actions and defines his paradoxical role in history. Read More »
Just call it Weinstein Premiere-O-Rama. The company launched four movies with splashy galas at the Toronto International Film Festival in the span of 48 hours (is this some sort of weird record?). That included Saturday night’s Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom World Premiere, Sunday’s North American launch of Philomena and last night’s World Premieres of August: Osage County and One Chance directly against each other. When I saw Harvey Weinstein at the combined Soho House after-party for the Monday films I told him he obviously loves Toronto. He was moving fast between his movies showing up everywhere, including on stage for August before it began. ”Everything came together and we just thought this would be the perfect way to get these films out there,” he said clearly beaming at the reaction.
Related: Toronto: TWC’s Epic ‘Mandela’ Debuts To Standing Ovation
All the films won standing ovations, not uncommon in movie-friendly Toronto (people like getting up on their feet here) but even by those standards the raucous, prolonged standing O for August: Osage County was definitely the most enthusiastic I have encountered at this year’s fest. And the John Wells-directed movie adaptation of actor/writer Tracy Letts’ Tony-winning Midwestern-set Broadway play about a dysfunctional family to end all dysfunctional families played like gangbusters with much audible reaction throughout. Star Meryl Streep was a last-minute cancellation due to illness and co-producer George Clooney (with Grant Heslov) didn’t make the trek to Canada for this film or Gravity in which he co-stars with Sandra Bullock since he was back in L.A. still working on posting his latest directorial gig, Monuments Men as well as shooting Disney’s Tomorrowland. But most of the cast was there including Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, Julianne Nicholson, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney and Julia Roberts, clearly the belle of this ball. When I spoke with her afterwards she was definitely on cloud nine over the reaction the film received and obviously excited to be working with this cast and opposite Streep who manages to do the impossible and tops Streep as the bitterly funny, bitingly caustic mother who lets it rip, particularly in the film’s (and the play’s ) signature dinner scene. Roberts is also at her best and both should be major Oscar contenders in the impossibly crowded lead actress category. This would make nomination #18 for Streep. Could anyone ever top her own record?
Read More »
Virgil Films acquired the U.S. rights to Foreclosure, a Richard Ledes-directed horror film that stars Michael Imperioli, best known for his work in mob sagas The Sopranos and Goodfellas. This is the third distribution arrangement between Virgil Films and writer-director Ledes, following Fred Won’t Move Out and The Caller, which both starred Elliott Gould. Submarine’s Josh Braun made the deal with Virgil president Joseph Amodei. They’ll put it out VOD early next year. Ged Dickersin is producer and Joseph Infantolino is exec producer.
Related: Toronto: Virgil Acquires Bloodworth Thomason’s ‘Bridegroom’
Imperioli plays a man who takes his father-in-law and son to Queens to to the house of a recently deceased relative. The neighborhood has been decimated by foreclosures, but they try to get a fresh start in the house. Then stuff starts happening. Spencer List, Bill Raymond, Wendell Peirce, Meital Dohan, Matt Servitto and David Costabile also star. Amodei said: “Richard Ledes has created a compelling drama that also happens to be a shocking horror film.”
EXCLUSIVE: In its second deal of the festival, A24 is closing U.S. rights for a bit more than $1 million on Under The Skin, the Jonathan Glazer-directed atmospheric thriller that stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien who preys on hitchhikers, who get a one-way ticket to her planet. Nick Wechsler and James Wilson produced it and Walter Campbell wrote the script. The film premiered Monday at the Princess Of Wales and talks went on through last night. A24 made the fest’s first deal with an acquisition of Locke. CAA and WME repped the title.
EXCLUSIVE: Linda Bloodworth Thomason‘s feature-length documentary looking into the issue of marriage inequality has been acquired by Virgil Films, which has nabbed all North American rights. The plan is to release Bridegroom later this fall, followed by VOD and DVD rollouts. The pic, which won the Audience Award at this year at the Tribeca Film Festival, centers on the real-life story of Shane Bitney Crone, who lost the love of his life, Tom Bridegroom, in an accident. Because they weren’t married (and despite the partners having been together for six years), Crone had no legal connection to Bridegroom, and he was barred from the funeral and received no survivor benefits. His YouTube video posted a year later about the ordeal, titled “It Could Happen to You”, went viral, generated worldwide support and attracted the attention of Bloodworth Thomason, creator of such TV series as Designing Women and Evening Shade. The pic is timely with several states weighing same-sex marriage bills and has been selected by the entertainment industry nonprofit Creative Coalition as a 2013 Spotlight Initiative Film.
“The story of Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom has touched millions and now Linda Bloodworth Thomason has created an equally poignant and powerful documentary feature” Virgil’s Joseph Amodei said in announcing the deal. “We are excited and honored to bring this important story to audiences everywhere.” The agreement was negotiated … Read More »
IFC Midnight acquired US rights to the Marvin Kren-directed The Station. Scripted by Bennjamin Hessler, the film stars Gerhard Liebmann, Edita Malovcic, Hille Beseler and Peter Knaack. Deal comes after the pic premiered in the Midnight Madness section of Toronto. Helmut Grasser produced. Pic follows three scientists and a technician in the German Alps as they monitor and study the climate and the ramifications of rapid weather changes on our world. They discover that a rapidly retreating glacier has begun to leak a strange red liquid that seems to be affecting local wildlife at a genetic level. Soon it will be up to a reclusive technician to defend the group from the biological monstrosities growing just beyond the walls of their tiny outpost.
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Kino Lorber has acquired two new films from French helmer Daniel Auteuil after releasing his directorial debut The Well-Digger’s Daughter stateside last year. The distributor has taken U.S. rights to Fanny and Marius, two features also adapted from the works of French filmmaker/playwright Marcel Pagnol. The remakes of Pagnol’s original 1930 and 1931 films will be released in early 2014. The deal was negotiated by Kino Lorber’s CEO Richard Lorber and Pathé’s Muriel Sauzay, Head of International.
Nick Taussig and Paul Van Carter’s Salon Pictures has attached directors to three projects on its production slate. Taussig and Van Carter are the former Revolver/Gunslinger execs who left to set up London-based Salon earlier this year. Together they will produce Lenny, a biopic of fighter Lenny McLean to be directed by Eva Sørhaug. Sørhaug will also write the script. Her last film, 90 Minutes, was nominated for seven Amanda Awards in Norway. Irish actress, writer and director Sharon Horgan has been tapped to helm Meet Me In Ten Years, written by Student Oscar-winner Fran Poletti. Horgan previously directed the 3D Little Cracker for Britain’s Sky. Finally, Pratibha Parmar will direct Intercourse, a theatrical documentary about the life and work of radical feminist writer and activist Andrea Dworkin. Parmar’s last film was this year’s Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth. Read More »