Toronto 2016 may go down as the festival where the film-sales blueprint was tossed.
Fox Searchlight was reported to have offered $13 million for the Natalie Portman starrer Jackie, but the specialty label actually inked a more unique deal. Sources say the Pablo Larrain-helmed film about Jacqueline Kennedy during the days following John F. Kennedy's assassination sold for no minimum guarantee. Instead, Searchlight and financier Mickey Liddell will split prints-and-advertising costs and the financiers will reap a majority of potential profits, a better deal for Liddell if the film works as an Oscar contender.
An even stranger deal was closed for the Anne Hathaway monster pic Colossal, which sold to a mysterious China-backed U.S. studio. THR later revealed the studio will be led by Radius co-founder Tom Quinn and Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League. A source pegged the acquisition at mid-seven figures.
No other on-the-ground deal is believed to have eclipsed those two sales. Most of the biggest festival films (Nocturnal Animals, Loving, A Monster Calls) were sold before their Toronto bows, leaving agencies looking to nontraditional distributors like EuropaCorp, which acquired Lone Scherfig's Their Finest in a mid-seven-figure deal. "A significant number of films played in Toronto with distribution already in place, which reflects a trend where larger-budgeted films require U.S. sales to complete financing," says UTA's Rena Ronson.
Netflix was the most active buyer, scooping up Adam Leon's romantic heist film Tramps for $2 million, the young Barack Obama biopic Barry, the Chadwick Boseman vigilante drama Message From the King, the Jonathan Demme doc Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids and the sci-fi thriller What Happened to Monday?, which screened privately at the fest.
Many of the remaining finished-film deals fell between $3 million and $4 million. The Liev Schreiber boxing pic The Bleeder sold to IFC Films/Showtime for $3 million, and Sony Pictures Classics landed Eleanor Coppola's road-trip comedy Paris Can Wait for mid-seven figures.
Roeg Sutherland of CAA, which negotiated for Jackie and Colossal among others, says the agency will have sold all 11 of its Toronto films: "For us it was a great, robust market."
A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.