EXCLUSIVE: The Toronto Film Festival deals have taken a little while, but they are certainly piling up. RLJ/Image Entertainment is wrapping up a $3.5 million U.S. rights deal for The Cobbler, the Thomas McCarthy-directed comedy that stars Adam Sandler as a generational cobbler in New York who took over his father’s business and discovers that when he uses his old sewing machines, he becomes the people whose shoes he is repairing. It severely complicates the shoe-fixer’s boring life. The fable also stars Method Man, Dustin Hoffman and Steve Buscemi.
The film was financed by Voltage, and the intention is to open it next year in a multi-platform release strategy that worked well with films from Snowpiercer to Arbitrage. The film doesn’t premiere until Friday, but buyers started lining up after seeing it at a P&I screening on Monday.
The theme of this Toronto has been about surprise players stepping up to pay good money for films as they re-brand themselves. That is true for Image, which was acquired by BET mogul Robert Johnson. I saw the movie, and it is charming, which is what you would expect from McCarthy, the filmmaker behind The Station Agent, Win Win and The Visitor. It’s the best thing Sandler has done in a long time, reminiscent of those films that Robin Williams made that had drama and comic elements like Moscow On The Hudson, as he transitioned from comic roles to serious turns from The World According To Garp and Good Will Hunting.
The deal is being tied up right now by Gersh and WME Global, with Image’s Mark Ward from newly revamped Image’s RLJ parent company. Pic is playing the Special Presentations section of the festival.