It’s safe to say HitFix’s Drew McWeeny was a big fan of John Carney’s “Can a Song Save Your Life?,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival yesterday. “It should not come as any surprise that John Carney, who wrote and directed ‘Once,’ has made another great film that focuses on songwriters and the way their lives influence their work, and I love that it doesn’t feel like he’s just trying to reproduce that movie’s charms,” Drew wrote in his review. “It’s the sort of movie that I feel protective of right away, because it’s delicate. It’s not trying to be a giant megablockbuster that opens on 3000 screens. It is heartfelt and deeply human, and it means every word it says.”
A number of distributors must feel similarly (or see the potential for audiences to feel similarly) about the film, which stars Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo: an all-night auction eventually led to The Weinstein Company securing exclusive talks to acquire it. Deadline is reporting that the film will be picked up for $7 million minimum for US rights with a $20 million P&A (prints and advertising) commitment.
Meanwhile, Exclusive Media is nearly done auctioning off the remaining foreign markets, meaning this one was, in so many words, the first truly hot ticket of the festival. Focus Features nailed down worldwide rights for “Bad Words” yesterday, so it’s not the first sale, but it is the first film that has apparently yielded such a feeding frenzy, given that these kinds of auctions are uncommon these days.
TWC was also busy during Telluride, picking up John Curran’s “Tracks” (which premiered in Venice), slowly filling out a 2014 slate we could be talking about in terms of Oscars this time next year. Expect more movement from Harvey and company when Cannes rolls around again in May.
The 27th annual Toronto Film Festival is on-going. Keep it tuned into HitFix for the latest as it happens.