Interest in dramatic comedies remains strong at the Toronto International Film Festival, with independent distributor ATO Pictures on Friday acquiring rights to Julian Farino's intergenerational romance "The Oranges." ATO says it will bring the movie to U.S. theaters in 2012.
The movie stars Hugh Laurie (of TV's "House" fame) as a New Jersey father who strikes up a romance with the twentysomething daughter of his best friend, played by Leighton Meester (known for her role on "Gossip Girl"). The affair throws the lives of two families into disarray. The cast also includes Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt and Allison Janney.
The announcement reflects a Toronto deal market that has warmed up as the festival has gone along, particularly for dramatic comedies. CBS Films earlier in the week picked up rights to director Lasse Hallstrom's culture-clash film "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen," IFC on Wednesday bought Lynn Shelton's love-triangle dramedy "Your Sister's Sister," and Jennifer Westfeldt's marital tale "Friends With Kids" has drawn the interest of several buyers.
Also on Friday, the movie arm of World Wrestling Entertainment acquired rights to "The Day," Doug Aarniokoski's post-apocalyptic thriller.
-- Steve Zeitchik in Toronto
Photo: The cast of "The Oranges." Credit: Toronto International Film Festival