The first weekend of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival saw the premieres of some of its most anticipated titles, including “Our Brand is Crisis,” “I Saw the Light” and “High-Rise,” but ultimately, it was the sales market that ran away with the biggest headlines, as new films starring Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain, Josh Hartnett and James Franco all found distribution deals despite being at various stages of production.
Get a rundown of the hottest pre-sale acquisitions below:
– Paramount Pictures has landed distribution rights to Stephen Frears’ “Florence Foster Jenkins,” starring Streep as a New York heiress and socialite who pursues her dream of becoming an opera singer despite having a terrible voice. Hugh Grant plays her devoted husband, who stops at nothing to protect his loved one from finding out the truth. The deal landed just as Frears’ Lance Armstrong biopic “The Program” premiered to favorable reviews and landed a North American distribution deal with Momentum.
– James Franco’s latest directorial effort, “Zeroville,” has been picked up by Alchemy. The film is adapted from Steve Erickson’s 2007 novel and is currently in post-production. The film stars Franco opposite Megan Fox, Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jacki Weaver, Joey King and Dave Franco and tells the story of a cinephile who climbs the ranks of 1970’s Hollywood and gets caught up in a dangerous romance. Alchemy is planning a 2016 release date.
– EuroCorps is teaming up with John Madden for “Miss Sloane,” starring Jessica Chastain as a political fixer who takes on Washington’s gun lobby to pass through gun control legislation. The film is aiming to begin production in March. Chastain has worked with Madden before on the 2010 political thriller “The Debut,” and she was front and center at TIFF this year with Ridley Scott’s “The Martian.”
– International sales rights to Josh Harnett’s “Valley of the Gods” have been acquired by Fortissimo Films. The drama is directed by Lech Majewski and is an imaginative tale that intertwines an ancient Najavo legend with the narratives of John Ecas (Hartnett), a writer with an unbridled imagination.
For more acquisitions out of the Toronto International Film Festival, visit Indiewire’s 2015 TIFF Bible.