By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com September 9, 2012 at 2:32PM
Several days into this year's Toronto International Film Festival, the buyers' market hasn't quite caught fire yet. A few films have been picked up, mostly on the smaller scale of things, but the first few days have mostly been made up of films that already have distribution – the "Cloud Atlas"es, "Silver Linings Playbook"s and "Anna Karenina"s of the world. But in the next few days, the real hot tickets start to unspool, and the first major acquisition of the festival has been made.
While a number of bidders were reported to be in the running, including The Weinstein Company and CBS Films, Deadline report that Focus Features have won the battle for the rights for Derek Cianfrance's "The Place Beyond the Pines," the generational crime drama that stars Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. We'd named the film as one of the ones with the most potential to unleash a bidding war, and that's exactly what seems to have happened, with the Universal subsidiary acquiring the film early this morning for an unknown sum, said to be several million dollars.
There are no details on when the film might hit theaters as yet, but we'd be surprised if it was before the start of 2013. For one, there are whispers that many of the buyers hoped that Cianfrance could be persuaded to cut the 140-minute picture down (though if our review is anything to go by, he shouldn't touch a frame) to make it more commercial. Furthermore, Focus have several Oscar pics competing for attention already, in "Moonrise Kingdom," "Anna Karenina" and Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land," and given how competitive this year is already, they're probably better off not adding a film that would be trickier to get nominations into the mix.
In other distribution news, Anchor Bay Films just picked up Billy Bob Thornton's "Jayne Mansfield's Car," which gets its North American premiere at TIFF after screening in Berlin back in February. Another TIFF festival leftover, Michel Gondry's "The We & the I," which screened at Cannes, also has distribution, with Paladin and 108 Media picking the film up and planning to put it in theaters in New York and Toronto in March. [Deadline/Indiewire]
Meanwhile, new company Outsource Media Group has acquired Mike Newell's "Great Expectations," with Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham-Carter and Ralph Fiennes, ahead of the film's premiere on Tuesday in Toronto. The private equity fund is expected to partner with a distributor for the U.S. release, putting up the P&A themselves. Finally, Well Go USA has acquried Hur Jin-ho's Mandarin-language remake of "Dangerous Liaisons" for the U.S., and Film Movement has picked up Catherine Corsini's drama "Three Worlds." [Deadline/Variety/Deadline]