EXCLUSIVE: Deadline’s Mike Fleming virtually called this deal on Tuesday (then delayed confirmation after sellers indicated that their auction wasn’t fully done). Now it’s official: Friends With Kids, the hot Toronto Film Festival romantic comedy co-starring Jennifer Westfeldt — which she directed, wrote and co-produced with longtime boyfriend Jon Hamm, who also has a supporting role — has indeed officially sold to Lionsgate. This according to Westfeldt, who broke the news to me at the late-night AMC Emmy celebration party, saying she herself learned halfway through Sunday night’s Emmy ceremony that the deal was done. “The sale just closed while the Emmys were going on — we’re thrilled,” she said, even while lamenting Hamm’s fourth consecutive loss in the Best Actor in a Drama Series category (Mad Men did win an unprecedented fourth Emmy for Drama Series). The sale certainly makes Hamm’s Emmy loss easier to take as Friends With Kids was one of the hottest titles in Toronto to still be available.
Westfeldt isn’t sure but expects a likely spring release for the well-reviewed comedy, which contains a breakout performance from Adam Scott in the leading male role and co-stars Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Edward Burns and Megan Fox in addition to Hamm. Millennium and CBS Films were among the other suitors for the title, and as late as Saturday night I heard Millennium may have been offering a higher figure. But even before the film premiered Lionsgate had its eye on the movie, which Westfeldt told me almost didn’t make its Toronto date due to last-minute lab problems. But in the end, everything worked out.