UPDATE: I’ve confirmed the Entertainment Studios deal is done for Replicas.
EXCLUSIVE: The first big deal of the 2017 Toronto Film Festival is closing, with Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios making a commitment $4 million for North American rights to Replicas, the Jeffrey Nachmanoff-directed thriller that stars Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch and John Ortiz. Reeves plays neuroscientist William Foster, an expert on re-creating the human brain for what he thinks is Alzheimer’s research. He alters his research to replicate his family after they’re killed in a car accident. The script was written by Stephen Hamel and Chad St. John, and Reeves produced the film with Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Hamel, Mark Gao, and Luis Riefkohl. The deal calls for a wide release.
The picture isn’t part of the Toronto festival lineup, but was part of a CAA program of screenings of films and promo reels for buyers that was held yesterday. Replicas was screened 11 AM at the Cineplex Varsity. The reaction was immediate as five offers materialized, and CAA and Lotus (which is selling foreign) spent the evening with bidders before Allen emerged victorious.
Allen has been knocking on the door of a big deal for some time. That included a $20 million offer the Nate Parker’s The Birth of A Nation two Sundance Festivals ago, and word over the past few weeks was he made a sight unseen 8-figure offer for the John Curran-directed Chappaquiddick, which premieres Sunday night at Roy Thomson Hall. Entertainment Studios has its own releasing platform after acquiring Freestyle Releasing last year, and the company proved itself with the release of the Mandy Moore shark thriller 47 Meters Down, a $5.5 million budget film that grossed $44 million theatrically.
Replicas will be coming to New York Comic-Con, where clips of the film will be shown, followed by a panel that will feature Reeves and his film making team.
Most world territories have been brokered by Lotus, with UK, Australia and Italy in discussions but still in play.