EXCLUSIVE / UPDATED AUG 20: The annual stampede for Toronto acquisition titles is expected to return next month as programmers line up at least a dozen must-see premieres in the first weekend.
Lucky McKee’s Midnight Madness entry All Cheerleaders Die represented by Modernciné kicks off the avalanche at the Ryerson Theatre on Thursday Sept 5 after the 8pm world premiere of DreamWorks’ The Fifth Estate at Roy Thompson Hall.
Friday will offer the first viewing of Alex Aja’s fantasy horror Horns starring Daniel Radcliffe at 6pm at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. WME touts US rights, VVS Films will release in Canada and financier Red Granite co-produced with Mandalay Pictures and handles international sales.
That same day brings world premieres for the Kristen Wiig-Guy Pearce drama Hateship Loveship shepherded by UTA and Evolution in the US and sold internationally by The Weinstein Company. It premieres at 2.30pm at the Princess Of Wales, followed at 6.30pm in Roy Thompson Hall by Jonathan Teplitzky’s war drama The Railway Man starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. CAA is the US sales agent and Lionsgate handles international sales.
There are night-time world premieres for Jason Bateman’s feature directorial debut Bad Words at 9.30pm at the Ryerson (CAA represents US rights) and Killer Films’ drama The Last Of Robin Hood handled by Cinetic at 9.45pm at the Isabel Bader Theatre.
That same day will present a couple of eagerly anticipated films with distribution in place: Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years A Slave starring Chiwetel Ejiofor is sold internationally by Lionsgate-Summit and screens at 6pm at the Princess Of Wales. Denis Villeneuve’s thriller Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal screens for the industry at 9pm at the VISA Screening Room. Warner Bros holds US and Canadian rights and Lionsgate-Summit handles international sales.
9.30pm sees the North American premiere of Parkland in Roy Thompson Hall. Exclusive Releasing will distribute in the US, Remstar holds Canadian rights and Exclusive Media handles international sales.
Saturday’s selection kicks off with WME’s documentary Supermensch at 1.30pm in Roy Thompson Hall and the acquisition titles continue at 3pm with You Are Here at the Ryerson. ICM Partners and CAA represent US rights and the comedy stars Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler. Lionsgate handles international sales and VVS Films is the Canadian distributor.
John Carney’s Once follow-up Can A Song Save Your Life? Starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo screens at 6.30pm at the Princess Of Wales. CAA and UTA represent US rights and Exclusive Media is the international sales agent. Richard Ayoade’s Submarine follow-up The Double starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska premieres at 8pm at the Winter Garden Theatre and is represented by WME in the US and Protagonist Pictures internationally, with D Films on board as Canadian distributor. The Clive Owen-Juliette Binoche romance Words And Pictures screens at 9.30pm at Roy Thomson Hall and is handled by CAA for the US and Voltage Pictures internationally.
Eli Roth’s cannibalism horror The Green Inferno, one of six Toronto selections financed by Worldview Entertainment, screens at midnight and is being sold in the US by CAA. Exclusive Media handles international sales.
Saturday’s acquisition titles include Michael Dowse’s Goon follow-up The F Word at 9pm at the Ryerson. The rom-com stars Daniel Radcliffe and is touted by UTA and Linda Lichter in the US and eOne Films International for international sales. eOne holds Canadian rights. ICM Partners’ Fading Gigolo, directed by John Turturro who stars with Woody Allen, screens at 9.45pm at the Isabel Bader Theatre. ICM Partners represents US rights and QED International handles sales outside the US.
Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club, the true-life drama said to boast an awards-worthy turn by Matthew McConaughey, premieres at 10pm at the Princess Of Wales. Focus Features holds US rights and Voltage Pictures co-produced and handles international sales. Other titles with distribution include Fox Searchlight’s Enough Said at 2.30pm in the VISA Screening Room (Elgin Theatre). Nicole Holofcener directs the late James Gandolfini alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Catherine Keener and Toni Collette.
Jason Reitman’s Labor Day with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin premieres at 6pm at the Ryerson (Paramount will release in the US and Canada), while The Weinstein Company’s Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom starring Idris Elba and directed by Justin Chadwick also premieres at 6pm at Roy Thompson Hall. eOne holds Canadian rights and Pathé International handles sales outside the US.
Sunday presents the first chance to see Jake Gyllenhaal as a man haunted by his doppelganger in Enemy, one of two Toronto world premieres from Denis Villeneuve. It screens at 6.30pm at the Ryerson. WME represents US sales, Pathé International is the international sales agent and eOne the Canadian distributor. The North American premiere of Ti West’s The Sacrament screens at 5.15pm in Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. CAA and UTA handle US rights and IM Global international.
The North American premiere of Kelly Reichardt’s eco-terror drama Night Moves starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Saarsgard premieres at 9pm at the Ryerson. UTA handles US rights and The Match Factory international. Atom Egoyan’s miscarriage of justice drama Devil’s Knot starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth premieres at the same time in the VISA Screening Room. CAA touts US rights, The Weinstein Company sells international and Remstar will release in Canada.
Comedy-drama All The Wrong Reasons starring the late Cory Monteith in one of his final appearances premieres at 6.45pm at Scotiabank 1. Myriad Pictures sells international and shares US rights with Preferred Content, while Pacific Northwest Pictures will release in Canada. Intrepid Pictures’ Oculus screens at midnight and is represented in the US by Paradigm. Focus Features International handles sales outside the US.
Stephen Frears’ drama Philomena starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan receives its North American premiere at 3.30pm at the Princess Of Wales. The Weinstein Company holds US rights, eOne is the Canadian distributor and Pathé International handles outside the US. The North American premiere of Rush starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl screens at 9.30pm at Roy Thompson Hall. Universal will distribute in the US, eOne is the Canadian distributor and Exclusive Media handles international sales.
Two high profile documentary screenings on Sunday have also found North American homes. Alex Gibney’s The Armstrong Lie gets its North American premiere at 2.45pm at the Ryerson and will open through SPC in the US and Mongrel Media in Canada. RADiUS-TWC will release Errol Morris’ Donald Rumsfeld portrait The Unknown Known in the US and that film gets its North American premiere at 6.45pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1. eOne will release in Canada and HanWay Films handles international sales.
Monday brings the world premiere of The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby at 2pm at the VISA Screening Room. The relationship drama stars Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy and is categorised as a work in progress, comprising two films told from the male and female point of view. WME represents US sales and Myriad Pictures handles international rights.
The North American premiere of Joe screens at 6.30pm at the Princess of Wales. David Gordon Green’s drama will arrive from Venice and is said to contain a fine performance by an in-form Nicolas Cage. CAA handles US sales and WestEnd Films international. The watch list includes Paul Haggis’ ensemble drama Third Person at 9pm at the VISA Screening Room, which Paradigm and CAA represent for the US, as well as Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson. The sci-fi premieres at 10pm at the Princess Of Wales. WME and CAA jointly handle US sales and FilmNation sells international rights.
Plenty of interest surrounds another Cory Monteith film, Bleiberg Entertainment’s crime mystery McCanick, which premieres at 7.15pm at Scotiabank 3. VVS Films will distribute in Canada. Monday’s midnight screening is Afflicted, which CBS Films will release in the US and IM Global represents for international sales.
August: Osage County premieres at 6.30pm in Roy Thompson Hall and The Weinstein Company handles US distribution and international sales on John Wells’ ensemble drama starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard, Juliette Lewis and Ewan McGregor. eOne is the Canadian distributor.
On Tuesday Australian thriller Felony starring Joel Edgerton and Tom Wilkinson screens at 9pm in the VISA Screening Room. CAA handles US rights and The Solution Entertainment Group sells international. Xavier Dolan’s psychothriller Tom At The Farm gets its North American premiere at 6.15pm at the Ryerson. eOne holds Canadian rights and MK2 is the international sales agent. Keanu Reeves’ Man Of Tai Chi premieres at 9pm at the Ryerson and opens in the US through RADiUS-TWC and in Canada through eOne.
“Certainly the line-up is the best ever,” said CEO Bill Lee of Millennium Entertainment. “Having gone through the last two or three Torontos where it’s been log-jammed over the first weekend, we are going to take the appropriate number of people to make sure we get excellent coverage.”
Millennium Entertainment’s recent Toronto pick-ups include What Maisie Knew, Rampart and Intruders. Like other buyers, the company tries to give itself a head-start by talking to sales agents and producers throughout the summer so executives can track the likely schedule as it unfolds.
On the producer side, the importance of securing the right screening slot cannot be understated. “That first weekend into the Monday or Tuesday is very critical for an acquisition title,” said Killer Films’ Christine Vachon, who is taking The Last Of Robin Hood to the festival with business partner Pamela Koffler.
“That’s when the buyers are there. Then you have to think about what movies you are up against and when is your next screening, assuming there will be people who will not be able to see your movie on the first occasion.”
The Last Of Robin Hood premieres on Friday evening and Killer Films’ Kill Your Darlings, the Sundance premiere acquired by SPC, screens on Tuesday.