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Toronto 2010: IFC feels 'Super'

September 12, 2010 |  2:27 pm


The first rights acquisition off a Toronto International Film Festival screening has gone down, as the Rainn Wilson-Ellen Page faux-superhero dramedy "Super" has sold to independent distributor
IFC. Principals involved in the sale confirmed that the deal had closed, with William Morris Entertainment and UTA selling domestic rights for an amount estimated as low seven figures.

The movie stars Wilson as a depressive cook who creates an alternate superhero persona named the Crimson Bolt -- essentially a vigilante personality -- in the interest of jazzing up his life. He then picks up a sidekick (Ellen Page) as he goes about exacting his own brand of justice, often to raunchy, hard-R effect. As my colleague Mark Olsen wrote, "Super" is "an alternately wild and moody film that is equal parts love story, portrait of mental instability and raucous comic-book-inspired action picture."

The James Gunn-directed movie played in a Friday midnight slot and was one of the few films so far to stir buyer interest at the Toronto fest, although some were mixed on the film, which they described as a paler version of "Kick-Ass," a film that performed only adequately for Lionsgate this year.

That "Super" went to IFC reflects the state of the indie world. Where the boutique distributor might have once concentrated only on specialty and awards fare, the thinning of the indie ranks has enabled IFC to make a play for films with bigger hooks and stars. (The New York-based company also is writing a check for more than its typical acquisition price, which usually hovers in the low six figures.)

Toronto is best known for showcasing both high-end studio films and more rarefied international cinema that is not expected to land domestic deals. The buying climate for the movies in between has been, as expected, on the cool side. (A number of deals were concluded before the festival, but there was no substantive activity before "Super" came along.)

The next movie that could sell is Robert Redford's courtroom morality play "The Conspirator," which was warmly received at a gala screening last night.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Rainn Wilson in "Super." Credit: This Is That Productions


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