Two music-themed female driven pics are the hot properties on the Toronto auction block right now, and neither is decided yet. After another wild all night Toronto auction, the Tom Harper-directed Wild Rose is close to a seven figure U.S rights deal with a couple distributors chasing. NEON is out front but others are still in it, said sources close to the deal making.
At the same time, the Natalie Portman-starrer Vox Lux is in serious play, and I’m hearing distributors including A24 and NEON are among the distributors chasing.
Sierra/Affinity is brokering foreign deals on Wild Rose that should reap another $4 million, which is a strong showing for a tiny film. Wild Rose centers around an aspiring Scottish lass from Glasgow who follows her dream to become a Country & Western singer in Nashville. Several sources who saw it at last night’s 9:30 PM first screening at the Ryerson said that Jessie Buckley has breakout appeal and a voice like an angel, and that the film plays like John Carney’s Once and Sing Street, also about the hopes and dreams of musicians.
Vox Lux is directed and written by Brady Corbert, and Portman stars with Jude Law, and Christine Vachone, David Hinojosa, Lichel Litvak, and Gary Michael Walters produces. Portman plays a female pop star becomes successful through unconventional circumstances. That pic’s being brokered by CAA Media Finance and Endeavor Content. Its first showing was Friday at the Elgin.
Some have seen this as having the sleeper potential that I, Tonya did last year so perhaps it’s not surprising that NEON has been the talk here all morning. I, Tonya was acquired here last year by NEON and 30WEST. That film, fueled by an Oscar nom for Margot Robbie and a Best Supporting Actress win for Allison Janney, grossed $53 million worldwide and was a breakout success.
Nicole Taylor wrote the Wild Rose script, and Julie Walters and Sophie Okenedo also star. Faye Ward, Eugenio Perez, and Xavier Marchand are the producers. CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent are brokering that one.
The festival has seen healthy levels of dealmaking for the most coveted titles like Stan & Ollie that went to Sony Pictures Classics, Greta which went to Focus Features and the whopping Daniel Craig-Rian Johnson pre-buy Knives Out that went to Media Rights Capital. This despite an oddly persistent press narrative that somehow deal making would be dampened by the implosion of Global Road. People in the know say that is a press invention, and that Global Road was essentially a stillborn company that never launched because Donald Tang never raised the money he said he would. That company was the last stop on the trail for sellers only because of that simple fact, and so it is as baffling to see that argument as it must be for Chris Pine to make the 1300s epic Outlaw King, and have to make the rounds to journalists who only seem interested in that you glimpse his penis in the movie.
There are more acquisitions titles that will make noise here, including tomorrow’s Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed A Million Little Pieces, with Aaron Taylor-Johnson playing James Frey in an adaptation of his drug addiction memoir. That might be a quick sale, but the films here are good and numerous deals will happen after buyers and sellers go home. Stay tuned.