EXCLUSIVE: Netflix is getting the Toronto International Film Festival off to a strong start with a figurative and literal punch in the face. Deadline hears the streamer is firming an 8-figure sum for world rights to Bruised, the mixed martial arts drama that marks the directorial debut of Halle Berry. It’s the first major deal on the (virtual) ground at TIFF. Netflix got a preemptive look at the film — which is premiering at Toronto as a work in progress — and took it off the table before its virtual premiere Saturday. When all done, deal will be high-teens, not far from $20 million, sources said. Endeavor Content and Netflix are closing it up right now.
Berry, who stars with Adan Canto, Stephen McKinley Henderson and Sheila Atim, plays Jackie Justice. She is a disgraced MMA fighter who has failed at the one thing she’s ever been good at – fighting. When 6-year-old Manny, the son she walked out on years ago, returns to her doorstep, Jackie has to conquer her own demons, face one of the fiercest rising stars of the MMA world, and ultimately fight to become the mother the boy deserves. The film is a Rocky-esque story of redemption, of a woman’s grueling MMA training in New Jersey to get into the kind of shape necessary to battle much younger opponents. Berry has done well in action turns in films from X-Men to John Wick and James Bond and the Oscar-winning actress is all in on this one. Anderson plays an encouraging MMA league owner and Atim turns in a performance to watch, as the MMA trainer who helps Justice get into fighting shape.
Script was written by Michelle Rosenfarb, and the film was produced by Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee, Brad Feinstein, Guymon Casady, Terry Dougas, Linda Gottlieb, Gillian Hormel, and Paris Kassidokostas-Latsis.
Netflix declined comment.