Netflix scoops up Toronto titles in quiet market

Netflix swooped on a trio of films, including Andrew Niccol’s sci-fi thriller Anon and Mark Raso’s road movie Kodachrome, at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, which wrapped yesterday (September 17).

The streaming giant also picked up documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – With A Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention Of Tony Clifton. Produced by Spike Jonze and Vice Films, the doc follows actor Jim Carrey playing comedian Andy Kaufman in Milos Forman’s 1999 biopic Man On The Moon.

Starring Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried, Anon follows a murder investigation in a world where there is no privacy and the authorities record memories. Netflix is understood to have acquired US and some international rights to the film, which wasn’t screening in the Toronto festival, but was presented to buyers privately. CAA brokered the US deal while Sierra/Affinity is handling international rights.

WME Global and CAA brokered the deal for Kodachrome (pictured), the story of a father and son attempting to reach a Kansas photo lab before the photo development process called Kodachrome disappears for good. Ed Harris and Jason Sudeikis head the cast of the film.

Netflix reportedly paid $4m apiece for Anon and Kodachrome, but Amazon Studios didn’t make any major acquisitions at the festival, which the US trades were reporting as one of the quietest in recent years, at least in terms of deal-making.

In contrast to other festivals over the past 18 months, during which the two streaming rivals shelled out $10m plus on titles such as Manchester By The Sea, The Big Sick and Mudbound, it’s understood that no deals crossed the $5m threshold in Toronto.

Netflix also pursued Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya, starring Margot Robbie as the controversial figure skating champion Tonya Harding, but the producers decided to go with traditional distributors as they are holding out for a bigger theatrical release. Eventually, the film went to indie distributor Neon and 30West, founded by a group of former CAA agents, for around $5m.

Some of the hottest titles at the festival had been produced in-house by companies with their own US distribution, so weren’t available for acquisition. These included a trio from Fox Searchlight: Guillermo del Toro’s monster movie The Shape Of Water; Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton’s Battle Of The Sexes; and Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The latter title, which won Toronto’s audience award, stars Frances McDormand in an Oscar-tipped role.

Among other Toronto deals, The Orchard acquired worldwide rights to Louis C.K.’s I Love You, Daddy, also for around $5m; Focus Features took international rights to Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird; and A4 took US rights to Paul Schraders’s First Reformed, starring Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried.

In tandem with DirecTV, A24 also acquired US rights to Richard Eyre’s The Children Act, starring Emma Thompson; Australian crime thriller 1%; and thriller Hot Summer Nights, starring Timothée Chalamet (Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name).