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TIFF 2011 Roundup: Seven films that we think are bound for box office (or critical) success

For the regular folk in Toronto, TIFF is primarily a time for star spotting, catching films that might not be seen otherwise and soaking up a kind of glitz and glamour that is otherwise rarely seen in Hogtown. But for the film industry, TIFF is big business—it’s where movies get big distribution deals and money (lots of it) exchanges hands. Over 30 titles were picked up from this year’s film festival, and more deals are surely on the way. We picked seven that we think are likely to be good investments, after the jump.

1. Shame
Fox Searchlight, an arm of 20th Century Fox, decided that fortune favours the bold, making the graphic tale of a depressed sex addict the first film picked up at TIFF. It was a shrewd buy: Michael Fassbender’s performance has been getting great reviews just about everywhere.

2. Wuthering Heights
Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired rights to bring the updated version of Emile Brontë’s novel to the silver screen in North America. Sure, there will be groans from English students everywhere, but this latest, raw adaptation has been well received, winning the cinematography award at the Venice Film Festival. The company envisions a 2012 theatrical release.

3. God Bless America
The black comedy sees a middle-aged man and a teenage girl become serial killers, purging the land of morons and vapid pop-culture icons. We’re told that creator Bobcat Goldthwait was extremely daring with the current cut, but that didn’t stop Magnolia Pictures from grabbing worldwide rights. A 2012 theatrical release is in the works through its video-on-demand program.

4. The Hunter
This man-versus-nature story follows a mercenary as he tries to hunt down the last Tasmanian tiger. He’s supposed to soften as a character along the way, but given that the film stars Willem Dafoe, we’re not buying it. While critics have been applauding his performance, the lush environment and thoughtful cinematography are getting most of the praise. Magnolia Pictures owns U.S. rights, and plans to release the film next year through its video-on-demand program. EOne Films is handling the Canadian release.

5. The Oranges
Like several other TIFF films, The Oranges centres on an unorthodox romance that destroys the lives of everyone within its range of influence—thank goodness this one’s a comedy, with a widely lauded cast. ATO Pictures has picked up North American rights.

6. Trishna
This tragic and complicated love story, starring Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pino, is an Indian retelling of the Victorian novel Tess of the D’Ubervilles. Unlike, say, Thriller, we’re told Trishna transitions east extremely well. Sundance Selects (a sister division to IFC Films) picked up North American rights, with Bankside Films handling international distribution.

7. The Deep Blue Sea
This English post-war flick focuses on an alienated and neurotic woman as she makes increasingly desperate gambles for love. Critics are calling it tense and immersive, but we’re distraught by the lack of Samuel L. Jackson and mutant sharks. Music Box beat out at least three other bidders for U.S. rights.

 

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