Reflecting its ambitious expansion plan among North American independents, Lions Gate Films announced its second acquisition at the Toronto Film Festival on Friday, taking worldwide rights on Vulgar, the comedy starring and executive produced by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, the talents behind Dogma, Chasing Amy and Clerks, and directed by Smith protege Bryan Johnson.
The film reunites Lions Gate and Smith's company View Askew since Lions Gate released Smith's Dogma in North America, grossing over $28m on the controversial religious comedy late last year.
It is the second time Lions Gate has bought worldwide rights, having done so previously at Sundance this year with Raymond DeFelitta's Two Family House. It also has worldwide rights to E Elias Merhige's Shadow Of The Vampire and Alessandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Amores Perros, but in both instances the domestic deals were sealed subsequent to the international deals.
The new policy of taking worldwide rights coincided with an infusion of $33.1m into Lions Gate in Jan this year from a group of partners including Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures, SBS Broadcasting and Tele-Munchen.
Produced by Monica Hampton, Vulgar is the story of a professional clown struggling to make ends meet at kids' parties who reinvents himself as a transvestite clown called Vulgar who becomes a hit on the bachelor party circuit. It also stars Brian O'Halloran, Jerry Lekowitz, Matt Maher, Ethan Suplee and director Johnson.
The deal was brokered on behalf of Lions Gate by Lions Gate Releasing co-presidents Mark Urman and Tom Ortenberg and Peter Block of Trimark pictures which is expected to close its merger with Lions Gate in the next few weeks. John Sloss of Sloss Law Office represented View Askew.
Lions Gate bought US rights to Kathryn Bigelow's The Weight Of Water earlier last week and were one of the only active buyers doing business at the festival.