It was very busy morning for the sales market at the Toronto International Film Festival, with three major deals going down. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions acquired U.S. distribution rights for Robert Redford’s “The Conspirator,” which made its world premiere at the fest; Anchor Bay Films closed a deal for “all English speaking rights” to Shawn Ku’s Maria Bello-Michael Sheen starrer “Beautiful Boy”; and The Weinstein Company – in their second major deal of the fest – grabbed rights to the very well received British comedy “Submarine.”
Directed by Redford from a script by James Solomon, ‘The Conspirator’ is the true story of the only woman charged in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, and the young attorney forced to defend her. Robin Wright and James McAvoy star along with a cast that also features Kevin Kline, Evan Rachel Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Alexis Bledel, Danny Huston, Justin Long, Colm Meaney and James Badge Dale. The deal for the film was announced by Lionsgate president of acquisitions and co-productions Jason Constantine, and Roadside Attractions co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff. A spring 2011 release is planned, so it won’t be in this year’s awards race.
“There are few American directors as gifted in cinematic storytelling as Robert Redford,” said Roadside’s Cohen in a statement, “and with ‘The Conspirator,’ he has chosen a fascinating, little-known tale that illuminates a new perspective on a turning point of history. The American Film Company is off to a tremendous start with their first feature, and we are honored to be partnered with them.”
“Submarine,” meanwhile, is directed by Richard Ayoade and follows fifteen-year-old Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), who has two big ambitions: to save his parents’ marriage via carefully plotted intervention and to lose his virginity before his next birthday. The film also stars Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine as the boys parents. The Weinstein Company reportedly paid $1 million for the rights. The Wrap reported that three other distribution companies were after the title, including Sony, Fox Searchlight and IFC Films. The deal closed at 5 am on Wednesday.
Finally, “Beautiful Boy” stars Maria Bello and Michael Sheen as disengaged parents of a college student who discover not only that he has been killed in a campus shooting, but that he was the triggerman who massacred other students. The film also reportedly sold for 7 figures The deal was negotiated by Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group’s Ben Weiss with Anchor Bay Films’ Kevin Kasha.