UPDATE ON FRIDAY MORNING DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Classic has confirmed Deadline’s previous scoop on the multiple territories deal for Stan & Ollie, the Laurel and Hardy drama.

Sony confirmed the following details on the deal:

  • Entertainment One’s (eOne) Stan & Ollie has been acquired for distribution by Sony Pictures Classics for multiple territories including the U.S., Latin America, Eastern Europe, China and South Africa. eOne will distribute the film directly across its footprint. eOne’s Sierra/Affinity handled international sales on the film with CAA Media Finance representing domestic rights.
  • The film is directed by Jon S. Baird from a script by Jeff Pope and stars Academy Award® nominees Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly. It is produced by eOne, BBC Films and Faye Ward via her Fable Pictures banner. eOne and BBC Films financed the feature.
  • The film has been designated as the closing night film of the 62nd BFI London Film Festival on October 21; with SPC planning a theatrical release qualifying the film for 2018 Awards consideration bolstered by the performances of Coogan and Reilly. The film will be released in the U.K. on January 11, 2019.
  • Stan & Ollie follows Laurel & Hardy, the world’s favorite comedy double act, who set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. As they set out, crisscrossing the country, attendances are disappointingly low. But they’ve always been able to make each other laugh and as the charm and beauty of their performances shines through their audiences laugh too, and they re-connect with legions of adoring fans, old and new.
  • The transaction comes as eOne is bolstering its in-house production activities with the recent acquisitions of The Mark Gordon Company and Sierra/Affinity. eOne is involved with 14 films playing at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival including A Million Little Pieces, Wild Rose, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, and Vox Lux.

EXCLUSIVE SEPT. 7, 8:28 AM: In what looks to be the first deal on the ground here at the Toronto Film Festival, a sale is near for Sony Pictures Classics to acquire multiple territories including domestic on Stan and Ollie, the John S. Baird-directed drama that follows the legendary comedy duo Laurel & Hardy, during their 1953 variety hall tour of Britain which began with low attendance and eventually became a hit with old and new fans. The film stars Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel, and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy, the iconic comedians. Stephanie Hyam, and Danny Huston also star. Jeff Pope wrote the script.

This is one of many films eOne is involved with at Toronto, as the company ramps up its output in tastemaker fare.

Sources said SPC is mulling a plan to launch in this Oscar season, to take advantage of the strong performances by Coogan and Reilly. Buyers sparked to a screening of the film yesterday morning at the Yong-Dundas Cineplex #10. Producing is eOne, BBC Films, and Fable Pictures. Faye Ward produced and Xavier Marchand exec produced.

CAA and eOne-owned Sierra/Affinity are repping the film but haven’t commented, nor has SPC. Stay tuned.