At TIFF, Small Movies Rule a Marketplace That’s Reluctant to Take Risks
Indiewire.com - Tue 10 Sep 15:44 GMT

While films like Quentin Dupieux's "Deerskin" have found buyers, the jury is still out on movies starring Hugh Jackman and Jason Segal.

  While films like Quentin Dupieux's "Deerskin" have found buyers, the jury is still out on movies starring Hugh Jackman and Jason Segal.

  As the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival nears its midpoint, the success stories so far lie in the small buys of foreign-language films and titles designed for limited releases.

  Joker' Proves Venice Win No Fluke With More Rave Reactions and Oscar Buzz at TIFF Part of the festival problem lies with studios preferring to lock up hot titles long before they reach the circuit.

  The Lorene Scafaria’s recession-era stripper film and Rian Johnson’s whodunit would both be no-brainers for any deep-pocketed buyer — high entertainment value, rave reviews, and star-studded ensembles are enough to make them commercially viable even in this challenging market.

  However, the biggest culprit may be a sluggish theatrical market that has seen few independent successes this year — and the very clear wide-release failures of Amazon’s $14 million “Late Night” and Warner Bros. $15 million “Blinded By the Light.”

  It made acquisitions of two small titles a couple of weeks before they screened at TIFF: the Brazil-set “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão” (Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, where it won the top prize) and “Blow the Man Down,” a seaside noir from Danielle Krudy and Bridget Savage Cole, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won a prize for best screenplay.

  Beyond a film’s box-office performance, exactly how does it measure the success of a title against its purchase price?