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Sony/Screen Gems/Sony Pictures Classics

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    Toronto Deals: Art of the Steal, Lebanon, Get Low

    The smaller Toronto deals are starting to flow. In addition to IFC's pick-up of Valhalla Rising and Sony Worldwide Acquisition Group's genre-film buy Defendor, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired U.S. rights to Samuel Maoz's Venice Golden Lion winner Lebanon, which is expected to be Israel's submission for the Oscars. The movie is based on Maoz's experience as a tank driver. (SPC acquired Israel's Waltz with Bashir last year.) And Sundance Selects, IFC-owner Rainbow Media's other theatrical and VOD label, acquired North American rights to Don Argott’s art-world documentary The Art of the Steal, set for 2010 theatrical release. Both films ar...

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    Toronto Wrap: Indie Bloodbath

    If industry-watchers didn't see it coming, they figured it out at this year's Toronto Film Festival.

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    Festival Season: Feast and Famine, Ten Hot Toronto Pick-Ups

    Going into the fall festival season in Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York, we know the following:

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    District 9: Oscar Contender?

    District 9 is a great movie that deserves every kudo and by all accounts played great for the Academy the other night.

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    Hollywood Health Report

    Each day brings more news of a troubled company needing debt restructuring or a management overhaul. The Weinstein Co. and MGM are just the latest examples. All the studios face pressure from their corporate parents in a grim recession amid declining ad and DVD revenues. Sales are down across the bo...

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    Weekend B.O., District 9 No. One, Rise of Streep, Fall of G.I. Joe

    Sony marketing took rookie Neill Blomkamp's $30-million VFX thriller to a terrific estimated $37 million--it wasn't the stunning reviews alone. All the Comic-Con raves and critics and folks on twitter and facebook had a viral impact. The R-rated sci-fi thriller opened well to its largely male base....

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    An Education Poised for Awards Contention

    Lone Scherfig and Nick Hornby's An Education emerged from Sundance as a serious awards contender. Anyone who saw the film there witnessed a remarkable debut: Carey Mulligan boasts Audrey Hepburn-style class, charisma and smarts. In the film, she's well-cast as a sharp and sexy 60s high schooler burs...

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    Studios Gets Tough; Sony Puts Moneyball in Play

    In the overall scheme of things, a $57-million budget is pocket change to a studio, especially a big-spender like Sony. So why would Sony chairman Amy Pascal risk alienating a star like Brad Pitt and a director like Steven Soderbergh by pulling the plug on baseball movie Moneyball hours before it was to start shooting? She's sending a message to Hollywood, loud and clear. She's asserting her power to just say no. Finally, in this economy, the studios are spending less on fewer available slots. That's also what Brad Grey is signalling at Paramount by ditching production execs John Lesher and Brad Weston: he's saying, "There's no room for error...

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    TIFF: Flying into Toronto; Eastern Promises

    It's nuts to take a 7 AM flight; it means nobody gets any sleep. But I was not the only industryite flying Air Canada early Saturday morning.

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