It's been a fairly quiet Toronto International Film Festival in terms of acquisitions, with Steve McQueen's "Shame" being the highest-profile buy so far, but even that sold for somewhere below a million dollars, a relatively meager sum. But slowly, things are starting to gear up, with a few films selling in the last 24 hours, and more looking close to being picked up.
William Friedkin's "Killer Joe" was the best surprise we had in Venice this year, arguably "The Exorcist" director's best film in decades, a grimy, nasty, hugely enjoyable black comedy with excellent performances from Matthew McConaughey, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon. According to Deadline, producer Mickey Liddell is in talks for the rights to the film. Slightly unusually, as his Liddell Entertainment isn't a distributor, the company will seek another company to partner with them in the film's release, as they did for their big TIFF acquisition last year, Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu's "Biutiful" (which Roadside Attractions ended up releasing).
Meanwhile, according to Heat Vision, Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment have bought North American rights to "Enter Nowhere," a horror-tinged thriller from director Jack Heller, co-written by "Abduction" writer Shawn Christensen. Compared to "The Twilight Zone" and "Lost," the film follows four strangers trapped in a wood, forced to work together for survival, and toplines Sara Paxton ("The Innkeepers," "Shark Night 3D"). The film isn't actually playing at Toronto, although that's where the deal went down; instead it'll premiere at ScreamFest in L.A. in October.
Lionsgate are also eying one of the best-received comedies of the festival, Jennifer Westfeldt's "Friends With Kids." Unsurprisingly, considering it reunites much of the cast of this summer's smash "Bridesmaids," including Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd, as well as having roles for Westfeldt, Megan Fox and Adam Scott, the film has caused something of a bidding war, and Deadline reported last night that Lionsgate had made a deal for more than $2 million. They've subsequently partially retracted that statement, with the film's sellers apparently saying that the deal hasn't closed, but we wouldn't be surprised if that's where it eventually ends up. We'll have news on more deals from Toronto as they happen.