BREAKING: One of the hot titles of the Toronto Film Festival, the horror film You’re Next, has sold to Lionsgate. I reported in my festival analysis story that Lionsgate was making this deal, and had been hearing for the better part of a week it was hot and heavy with CAA in negotiating a low-seven-figure minimum guarantee and P&A commitment for the film some feel could have the box-office breakout potential of 2010 Toronto’s Insidious, based on the raucous response the film received at screenings. You’re Next was directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett, the team behind the 2010 Toronto film A Horrible Way to Die. It was a competitive situation, with The Weinstein Company and Paramount and Indian Paintbrush also circling the deal. This negotiation has been going on since the film’s first screening September 10 in the Midnight Madness program. The deal took awhile because it anticipates the possibility that it might launch a franchise with future installments, which the filmmakers have strong control in. The theatrical release will be wide and most likely occur in fall 2012.
In You’re Next, a family comes under a terrifying and sadistic attack during a reunion getaway. Stranded in a secluded home, they are forced to fight off a barrage of axes, crossbows and machetes. The killers soon discover that one of the victims is surprisingly talented at fighting back. Keith Calder, Jessica Wu and Barrett produced the film that stars Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Nicholas Tucci and Barbara Crampton.
Lionsgate co-COO and Motion Picture Group president Joe Drake and Acquisitions and Co-Productions president Jason Constantine finally fessed up this morning that they’d closed the deal. “This project represents everything that we look for in a horror film,” Constantine said in a statement. “It is a celebration of its genre, featuring top-notch performances from a sophisticated script, brilliantly directed, that will leave audiences on the edge of their seats when they’re not jumping out of them.”