As the second week of Toronto got underway, A24 pounced on While We’re Young and the hope remained that a deal for Top Five would inject life into what has been a muted event thus far.
The prevailing sentiment among industry attendees that the festival’s hardline policy on Telluride has robbed Toronto of much-needed buzz over the first weekend has been darkened by the slowest start in years on the US acquisitions front.
The new normal of ultra-conservative buyer strategy allied to below-par product starved the market of domestic deals in the first weekend.
At time of writing, the only exception was Lionsgate’s deal with QED International and CAA for US and UK rights for the upcoming Robert De Niro and Zac Efron comedy Dirty Grandpa, as well as A24’s reportedly $4m spend on US rights to Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young.
Trade on available festival titles has drawn blanks, although hopes were high that a studio would close imminently on worldwide rights for Chris Rock’s Top Five, the one unequivocal hit among the acquisition titles to screen so far. By Monday evening bids had reportedly reached $12.5m.
US buyers were also circling Big Game, Sunshine Superman, Pawn Sacrifice and The Cobbler, among others.
International business has stayed largely below the radar in the run-up to the AFM, although the likes of Bloom and QED International have laid the foundations for sell-outs before November on The Nice Guys and Dirty Grandpa, respectively.
Bloom, the new venture launched prior to Cannes by Ken Kao and Alex Walton, is in aggressive mood and has taken on sales on the Michael Douglas and Noomi Rapace CIA thriller Unlocked.
IM Global demonstrated its spreading roots in Asia with a number of titles in the festival and a reshuffle at its pan-Asian acquisitions division Apsara, while XYZ Films, here with a handful of titles in the festival, closed a raft of territories on New Zealand action thriller The Dead Lands.
Hyde Park International closed multiple key markets including StudioCanal for the UK on buzz drama 99 Homes from Ramin Bahrani starring Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon.