EXCLUSIVE: Well, the most sprawling auction so far at Toronto is done. STX Entertainment is tying up a deal to pay around $10 million for Hardcore. They are in exclusive negotiations now, which means the deal’s being papered and there’s more to say, but have a look at the story Deadline wrote yesterday, where we notched the high stakes and bidders. STX, Universal and Lionsgate were in the mix, though rumor since yesterday was STX might get this. The outcome waited until the filmmakers flew in and chose STX. That company, whose braintrust includes vets Bob Simonds, Oren Aviv and Adam Fogelson, aren’t in the acquisition game. They are building their own slate of 12 to 15 films per year. But they made an exception here, for a disruptive film that is regarded as pretty original and wild enough to break out. WME Global steered this deal over two days, and it’s expected to be made official by Monday. MORE
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, September 17, 7:16 PM: Who said there was no exciting deal making going on at the Toronto Film Festival? STX Entertainment, Lionsgate and Universal are still fighting it out for a worldwide rights dealing that has one bid nearing eight figures for the Ilya Naishuller-directed film Hardcore. The film is a wild ride shot in disruptive first-person POV; it premiered Saturday in Midnight Madness at the Ryerson Theatre. This had as many as six players in the mix for the past several days, and a decision is imminent. The deal calls for a wide theatrical release north of 1,000 theaters. WME Global is making the deal, which could be the biggest so far at 2015 Toronto for a completed film (Paramount is believed to have paid around $10 million for the Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant comedy Florence Foster Jenkins, based on promo footage).
What’s cool about Hardcore is that it’s shot in first-person POV, video game-style, and there is plenty of violence dragging through the streets of Russia. The official logline: You remember nothing. Mainly because you’ve just been brought back from the dead by your wife (Haley Bennett). She tells you that your name is Henry and congratulations: You’re now a cyborg. Five minutes later, your wife has been kidnapped and you should probably go get her back. Who’s got her? His name’s Akan (Danila Kozlovsky); he’s just a psychotic megalomaniac with telekinetic powers and a never-ending army of mercenaries. You’re also in an unfamiliar city of Moscow, and everyone wants you dead. Everyone except for a mysterious British fellow called Jimmy (Sharlto Copley). He might be on your side. Good luck Henry. You’re very much likely to need it…
Cyrus Arnold also stars in the film produced by Timur Bekmambetov, Ekaterina Kononenko, and Inga Vainshtein. Here is the trailer: