EXCLUSIVE: In the second giant Toronto pre-buy deal in as many days, Lionsgate has won a vigorous auction and has acquired and will distribute Kin, the sci-fi action thriller that will star Jack Reynor, James Franco, Zoe Kravitz and Dennis Quaid. Just like yesterday’s splashy deal for the untitled Paul Thomas Anderson-directed drama with Daniel Day-Lewis that Focus Features acquired, this was a negative pickup for near-$30 million, and it has Universal, MGM, Sony and TWC in hot pursuit. This came together so quick that WME Global canceled a presentation scheduled for today at Thomson Hall, once the bidding got to the wire. WME Global and Good Universe just closed the deal.
The film is financed by No Trace Camping, the company behind last year’s celebrated Oscar-season pic Room. Kin is in pre-production to shoot in Toronto, with Jonathan and Josh Baker directing a feature based on their short film Bag Man. Daniel Casey wrote the script, and 21 Laps’ Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen will produce with No Trace Camping’s Jeff Arkuss, David Gross and Jesse Shapira. No Trace Camping also has at Toronto Goon: Last Of The Enforcers, the Jay Baruchel-directed sequel to the indie gem. Deadline revealed the Kin package August 30, and it was expected to be one of the pre-buy packages that would appeal to buyers. The picture is ready to go, set for an October 24 start date.
The short premiered at SXSW 2015. The feature expands the concept and revolves around a recently released ex-con (Reynor) and his adopted younger brother who are forced to go on the run. Chased by a vengeful criminal (Franco), the feds and a cadre of otherworldly soldiers, their only protection is a found weapon of mysterious ancestry. Quaid will play the father of the siblings, and Kravitz is a young woman who joins them on the run.
Casey did uncredited rewrite work for Bad Robot on 10 Cloverfield Lane, and the STX Entertainment crime thriller Godforsaken, which Jim Mickle will direct with Sylvester Stallone starring. The scribe also wrote an untitled film with Bad Robot. Levy’s 21 Laps produced the Netflix series Stranger Things and the Denis Villenueve-directed Arrival, which debuts here at Toronto before Paramount releases it November 11.