Fox Searchlight Picks Up Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler
by Alex Billington
September 8, 2008
Last night was one hell of a good night for Darren Aronofsky's latest film, The Wrestler. I saw the film at its North American premiere yesterday evening and it was incredible (my review is on the way), definitely another Aronofsky hit. Luckily my wildest dreams were fulfilled as well when Fox Searchlight was announced today as the studio that won in an intense bidding war for distribution rights. The film played at the Venice Film Festival last week (where it won the Golden Lion) and yesterday night without an actual distributor, but now its got the best in the business. Fox acquired the film for roughly $4 million, the first big sale of the Toronto Film Festival so far. I hope this kicks off more great sales for films that deserve it, and Wrestler was one of them, so good luck to the remaining films here in Toronto.
"Buyers huddled on the street and made their way to the Four Seasons Hotel to offer bids and pitch release plans. An Oscar-campaign for Mickey Rourke's rough-and-tumble, vulnerable performance as a wrestler on the ropes was an essential component of the deal," comments Anne Thompson of Variety. I had heard rumblings of this sale earlier in the night and during the afterparty, and was glad to hear that The Wrestler, one of my favorite films from the entire festival so far, ended up selling to the very best indie distributor. Rourke will definitely get an Oscar nomination and I'm certain will definitely shake things up in this year's Oscar competition. Now Fox Searchlight just needs to ramp things into high gear and start marketing this film for a fall release. But before they do, let me make my own marketing pitch - this is a must see!