Toronto festival dealmaking kicks into gear


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TORONTO -- The dealmaking finally kicked in Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival as IFC Films grabbed James Gunn's anti-superhero movie "Super," starring Rainn Wilson as an abandoned husband who picks up a crowbar and turns himself into the Crimson Bolt.

The movie, which some likened to "Kick-Ass," also stars Ellen Page, who becomes Wilson's sidekick.

Buyers had been circling since the movie bowed Friday night at the Ryerson Theater in a Midnight Madness slot, but IFC clinched the seven-figure deal, brokered during a marathon session by IFC's Arianna Bocco and Betsy Rodgers with UTA's Rich Klubeck and WME's Graham Taylor.

IFC will release the movie, produced by Ambush Entertainment's Miranda Bailey and This Is That's Ted Hope, under its IFC Midnight banner. Ambush's financing arm Cold Iron Pictures financed the film, with Matthew Leutwyler and Wilson as executive producers.

Now that the ice is broken, other deals could be in the offing. Several buyers are circling Robert Redford's "The Conspirator," though some are warily regarding the historical pic, shown to some buyers before the fest. Mike Mills' "Beginners," starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, and Denis Villeneuve's "Incendies" are also said to be attracting interest.

Music Box Films has snapped up U.S. rights to Francois Ozon's "Potiche" in advance of its gala screening tonight at Roy Thomson Hall. Set in 1977 in a French provincial town and freely adapted from the '70s French play, the movie stars Catherine Denueve as a trophy housewife who steps in to manage her wealthy husband's umbrella factory after the workers go on strike and take him hostage.

A spring release is planned.

Chicago-based Music Box has had success distributing French titles like "Tell No One" in the U.S. and is distributing trilogy "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Wild Bunch's Carole Baraton and Music Box managing director Edward Arentz negotiated the deal.

Meanwhile, Fortissimo Films has been selling off rights to John Woo's martial-arts epic "Reign of Assassins." Fortissimo chairman Michael J. Werner reported deals with California Filmes for Brazil and Madman for Australia and New Zealand.

The film had its world premiere this month at the Venice Film Festival, where Woo was honored with the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award. Its bows Sept. 28 in China and also will screen in October at the Pusan International Film Festival.

It sold earlier to the Weinstein Co. for North America and South Africa, Metropolitan for France, Wild Bunch for Germany and Lionsgate for the U.K.

Beliberg Entertainment's Ehud Bleiberg also closed deals in several territories for the Israeli documentary "Precious Life," which went to Mongral in Canada, Momento in France, Switzerland and Belgium and Imagine for the Netherlands.
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