Slew of films sold as Toronto winds down
'Conspirator,' 'Submarine,' 'Insidious' among Wed. pickupsMore Toronto coverage
TORONTO -- A flurry of last-minute dealmaking hit Wednesday as the Toronto International Film Festival entered the homestretch.
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions joined forces to pick up U.S. rights to Robert Redford's "The Conspirator," and the Weinstein Co. made its second buy of the fest by grabbing U.S. and Canadian rights to the British coming-of-age tale "Submarine."
IFC which kicked off the acquisition activity Sunday when it picked up James Gunn's "Super," also ponied up for a second film, taking all U.S. rights except TV to Werner Herzog's 3D documentary, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," which takes viewers on a tour of the ancient cave drawings in Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc in southern France.
Even as acquisitions execs were packing to head out of town, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions moved in to take U.S. rights to James Wan's "Insidious," which bowed Tuesday night in the Midnight Movies slot. Anchor Bay scooped up English-speaking rights to Shawn Ku's "Beautiful Boy," which stars Maria Bello and Michael Sheen as the grieving parents of a college student who becomes a mass killer. And Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures has taken North American rights to Kim Ji-woon's thriller "I Saw the Devil," which first screened Tuesday at Toronto.
"Conspirator," which recounts the trial of Mary Surratt (Robin Wright) for complicity in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, won't enter this year's Oscar battle as Roadside has opted to release it in the spring.
The distributor already is fielding such awards hopefuls as "Biutiful" and "Winter's Bone" for this season and decided to take the time to build an educational and promotional campaign on behalf of "Conspirator," which will be released around April 15, the 146th anniversary of Lincoln's death.
Lionsgate acquired a 43% interest in Roadside three years ago, and the companies collaborated last year on the release of "The Cove."
"Conspirator," the first feature from Joe Ricketts' new American Film Co., had its world premiere at TIFF during a Saturday night gala at Roy Thomson Hall. As part of the deal, premium cable rights go to Epix, in which Lionsgate is a partner.
Jason Constantine, Lionsgate president of acquisitions and co-productions, and Roadside co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d'Arbeloff announced the deal.
"There are few American directors as gifted in cinematic storytelling as Robert Redford," Cohen said, "and with 'The Conspirator,' he has chosen a fascinating, little-known tale that illuminates a new perspective on a turning point of history."
The film's producers are Greg Shapiro, Brian Falk, Robert Stone and Bill Holderman, with Ricketts, Jeremiah Samuels and Webster Stone as exec producers.
CAA, which reps Redford and several of the actors in the film, and Steve Monas of Business Affairs brokered the deal on behalf of the American Film Co. with Lionsgate's Constantine and Cohen and attorney Greg Bernstein on behalf of Roadside.
"Submarine," produced by Warp Films in association with Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films, had the support of Stiller, who served as exec producer and introduced the movie in Toronto. Writer-director Richard Ayoade's film centers on a 15-year-old (Craig Roberts) as he tries to lose his virginity and tries to keep his mom (Sally Hawkins) from leaving his dad.
"Submarine" first screened Sunday night, and with several bidders in the mix. The Weinstein deal was concluded about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. The pic went for just shy of seven figures as well as a P&A commitment.
Producers are Andy Stebbing, Mark Herbert and Mary Burke, with Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld, Jeremy Kramer, Tessa Ross, Peter Carlton, Will Clarke, Linda James, Pauline Burt and Paul Higgins exec producing. TWC execs David Glasser, Peter Lawson and Laine Kline negotiated the deal with WME Global's Graham Taylor and Mark Anker and Protagonist's Ben Roberts.
Weinstein also picked up "Dirty Girl" for about $3 million on Sunday night. Both films will be released next year.
"Cave," which had its first TIFF screening Monday, attracted interest from several buyers; IFC won the rights with a mid-six-figure deal and plans to release it in 3D during the next year.
"Cave" was produced by Creative Differences in partnership with History Films -- which eventually will show it on TV's History -- and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication as a co-production with Arte France and in association with More 4. It was produced by Erik Nelson, who produced Herzog's past two docs "Grizzly Man" and "Encounters at the End of the World," and Adrienne Ciuffo. The exec producers are Dave Harding, David McKillop, Julian P. Hobbs, Molly Thompson, and Tabitha Jackson.
Said IFC president Jonathan Sehring: "We were completely blown away by this tour de force from Werner Herzog. This is what great 3-D technology was created for."
The deal was negotiated by IFC's Arianna Bocco and Betsy Rodgers with Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment.
"Devil" stars Lee Byung-hun, who also appeared in Kim's "The Good, the Bad and the Weird," as a special agent who vows revenge after his wife falls victim to a serial killer.
The movie will be released theatrically in the first quarter.
" 'I Saw the Devil' is one of the most riveting and unrelenting films I've ever seen," Magnet senior vp Tom Quinn said. "It is an indisputable masterpiece."
The deal was negotiated by Quinn with Finecut's Youngjoo Suh.