Santa Monica-based Lightning Entertainment has acquired international sales rights to Shawn Ku’s drama Beautiful Boy ahead of its world premiere in Toronto.

Michael Sheen and Maria Bello star in the feature about a couple in a troubled marriage who discover that their 18-year-old son has carried out a massacre at his university before committing suicide. Paradigm represents US rights.

Ku wrote the screenplay with Michael Armbruster and Eric Gozlan and Lee Clay produced. Lightning Entertainment and Lightning Entertainment Group Inc co-president Marc Greenberg negotiated the deal with Gozlan and Clay.

Beautiful Boy will also screen in the Zabaltegi section of the San Sebastian Film Festival where it will be the only US entry in competition.

“We are thrilled to be associated with such a powerful and moving film,” Guardian said. “Michael and Maria’s tremendous performances just blew us away, as they will audiences worldwide.  We are proud to represent such a stunning feature debut from an artist like Shawn Ku. He is a remarkable new voice and the film is testament to his passion and humanity.”

“We love this movie and are delighted to have like-minded partners in everyone at Lightning, who so clearly share our enthusiasm for this special project,” Gozlan and Clay said.