TIFF 2011: Lionsgate Buys FRIENDS WITH KIDS; Music Box Picks up THE DEEP BLUE SEA

     September 19, 2011

While a slew of films at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival have already been picked up for distribution, there are other high-profile titles still hammering out their deals.  Variety reports that Lionsgate has acquired Jennifer Westfeldt’s new comedy Friends with Kids.  The story stars Westfeldt and Adam Scott as lifelong friends who decide to have a kid but keep their relationship platonic and open.  I was slightly disappointed by the film, but it’s got a great cast (the film also stars Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O’Dowd) and I can see the flick having wide appeal.

In other TIFF picks-ups, Music Box has picked up the U.S. rights to Terrence Davies’ romantic drama The Deep Blue Sea starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston.  Weisz plays the wife of a high court judge who leaves her husband to move in with a dashing young ex-RAF pilot (Hiddleston), with whom she has fallen passionately in love.  Weisz picked up strong notices for her performance and I’m glad I’ll have a chance to see the film eventually.  No U.S. release dates have been announced for Friends with Kids or The Deep Blue Sea.  Hit the jump for Music Box’s press release regarding The Deep Blue Sea.

deep-blue-sea-movie-image-tom-hiddleston-rachel-weisz-02rachelHere’s Music Box’s press release regarding their acquisition of The Deep Blue Sea:


In a deal closed prior to its final public screening in Toronto, Terence Davies’ THE DEEP BLUE SEA, starring Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener, The Whistleblower), Olivier Award winner Tom Hiddleston (Spielberg’s War Horse, Thor) and BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning theatre actor Simon Russell Beale (An Ideal Husband, London Assurance), has been acquired by Music Box Films, who have taken US rights from Protagonist Pictures.

THE DEEP BLUE SEA is Music Box’s first acquisition of an English language film. In a swift move following the world premiere, they fended off competition from at least three other bidders, and the deal was concluded by Protagonist Pictures CEO Ben Roberts and Music Box’s Managing Director Ed Arentz.  Music Box Films’ recent slate includes the original Dragon Tattoo trilogy, which collectively registered nearly $22 million in US theatrical box office receipts.

Ed Arentz commented: “We, and the audience who saw the film at its world premiere screening, were entranced from the opening frames, and by the end there was an inescapable sense that we had witnessed a major work. Timeless and nostalgic, classical and very modern, achingly emotional and serene, it seems a perfect marriage of source material, Terence Davies’ directorial vision and riveting lead performances highlighted by an incandescent Rachel Weisz. We’re thrilled with the opportunity to share this masterpiece with US audiences.”

Hot on the heels of the film’s Toronto premiere THE DEEP BLUE SEA screens in competition at San Sebastian, followed by the Closing Night gala at the London Film Festival, prior to its UK release on 25th November 2011 with Artificial Eye.

THE DEEP BLUE SEA, adapted from the 1952 play by Terence Rattigan, sees Terence Davies’ return to the big screen.  His most recent film, the documentary Of Time And The City, was an affectionate look at his childhood city Liverpool, but he is best known for the semi-autobiographical Distant Voices Still Lives and The Long Day Closes, and the subsequent The House of Mirth.

THE DEEP BLUE SEA is produced by Sean O’Connor, a passionate advocate of Rattigan who worked in the theatre with the play’s original director, and Kate Ogborn (Under The Skin, The Unloved). They commented: “We are genuinely thrilled to be working with Music Box Films on the US release of THE DEEP BLUE SEA. They are the perfect match for us, having an acutely attuned vision for drama of the very highest quality. Their great recent successes speak for themselves and we’re both hugely excited to join forces with such an innovative and passionate distributor”.

Rachel Weisz plays the wife of a high court judge who, shockingly in her 1950s milieu, leaves her husband to move in with a dashing young ex-RAF pilot, with whom she has fallen passionately in love.  The film explores the nature of love and the lines drawn between love and passion.

Tania Seghatchian of the BFI Film Fund said: “We are delighted that THE DEEP BLUE SEA has secured such a swift US distribution deal. The rapturous response from the Toronto film festival and particularly key US critics has been fantastic and we look forward to Music Box Films ensuring that Terence’s work connects with new audiences and old fans alike”.

Katherine Butler of Film4 added: “We are delighted with the wonderful reception THE DEEP BLUE SEA has so deservedly had in Toronto, and are thrilled to be starting a new relationship with Music Box Films. Their palpable passion for, and understanding of, this beautiful film will ensure the audience in the US have the best possible opportunity to experience Terence’s vision”.

THE DEEP BLUE SEA is a Camberwell/Fly Film Production financed by UK Film Council and Film4 in association with Protagonist Pictures, Lip Sync Productions and Artificial Eye

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