14 Movies That Should Sell at Toronto

Films by Matthew Weiner, Eli Roth and Jennifer Aniston are expected to find buyers at the festival

Last Updated: July 16, 2014 @ 3:22 PM

Filmmakers like Alfonso Cuaron and Spike Jonze enter the Toronto Film Festival with a simple question: Will audiences like their movie?

Filmmakers like Matthew Weiner and Eli Roth enter the festival with a follow-up question: Will audiences like it enough for someone to buy it?

Weiner and Roth are among those entering the festival with finished films — but no distributors. All are in the hunt for a deal, but only a select few can feel certain they will get one.

TheWrap spoke with buyers, sellers, agents and other interested parties to find out which films are the most likely ones to get a deal at Toronto.

Also read: Who Will Rule Toronto? 4 Things on the Minds of Movie Buyers at TIFF

Here are the choices repeated by many:

Director: Jason Bateman
Cast: Bateman, Allison Janney, Rachael Harris
Sales Agent: CAA

Bateman has already made the jump from a TV actor who lands supporting roles in films to a movie star with a successful producing career to boot. Now he turns his focus to directing.

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Director: Joe Carney
Cast: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener
Sales Agent: CAA, UTA

Every buyer and seller listed this as one of the titles with the most comemrcial potential — even rival sales agents.

Knightley stars as an aspiring singer who breaks up with her boyfriend and turns to a producer (Mark Ruffalo) to boost her career. Carney already demonstrated his skill with music-driven films on “Once,” an Irish musical that won an Academy Award for Best Song.

Also read: Who Will Rule Toronto: The Weinstein Company, CAA or Horror Movies? 

Director: Atom Egoyan
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Bruce Greenwood, Mireille Enos
Sales Agent: CAA, WME

Egoyan’s film is based on the story of the West Memphis Three, a troika of teenage boys wrongfully imprisoned for murder. Though few expect the movie to ever reach a wide audience, the cast alone is enough to get a deal, and the tale’s resonance in Hollywood gives it a huge leg up in securing a distributor.

Everyone from Johnny Depp to Margaret Cho got involved in the case before the men were released from prison in 2011, and Peter Jackson already produced a documentary.

Director: John Turturro
Cast: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber, Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara
Sales Agent: ICM

It’s been seven years since Turturro last directed a film, and that movie, “Romance and Cigarettes,” received mixed reviews. Yet some distributors are bound to be interested given the popularity of Turturro and an impressive cast.

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Director: Eli Roth
Cast: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Sky Ferreira, Daryl Sabara
Sales Agent: CAA (domestic), Exclusive Media (international)

Roth first stunned Toronto audiences with “Cabin Fever,” a movie one executive described as the “gold standard” for horror films at the festival. With Roth returning form a lengthy directing hiatus, everyone expects “Green Inferno” will be a highlight of the Midnights section.

Director: Alexandrea Aja
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple
Sales Agent: WME

Radcliffe returns to the world of the supernatural in this thriller about a man accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend; he uses his newfound paranormal abilities to track down the real killer. Radcliffe proved his marketability on the scarier side of the supernatural with “The Woman in Black” and Aja directed the revolting yet successful  “Piranha 3D” and “The Hills Have Eyes.”

Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan
Sales Agent: CAA

Cage stars as an ex-con who earns a chance at redemption by mentoring a teenage boy (Sheridan). While Gordon Green has not made a commercial film since “Pineapple Express,” teaming with Cage could make this a popular title for companies looking to score big on video on demand.

Director: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Cast: Kevin Kline, Dakota Fanning, Susan Sarandon
Sales Agent: Cinetic Media

Though in need of a title change, this project about the final days of Hollywood star Errol Flynn checks several boxes for Hollywood. It is self-referential, depicts the price of stardom and features three prominent actors.

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Director: Daniel Schechter
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, Isla Fisher, John Hawkes, Mos Def
Sales Agent: CAA, WME

Aniston just reminded people of her box office viability with “We’re the Millers” and everyone will want a taste of this Elmore Leonard adaptation after the recent death of the beloved author. Toss in an Oscar winner (Robbins), Oscar nominee (Hawkes) and a couple of sexy castmates (Def and Fisher) and this movie just needs to be decent to get a deal.

Director: Joel Hopkins
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson, Timothy Spall, Tuppence Middleton
Sales Agent: WME

Brosnan and Thompson play a divorced couple who plot to recover some stolen money. The last time Hopkins teamed with Thompson and a reputable actor (the more dour Dustin Hoffman in “Last Chance Harvey”), the movie made $32 million — a hefty sum for a Toronto title.

Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Cast: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgard
Sales Agent: CAA

Can you see a movie with these two stars going straight to VOD?

Director: Paul Haggis
Cast: Mila Kunis, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Liam Neeson
Sales Agent: CAA, Paradigm

An Oscar-winning director makes a movie about interlocking love stories that stars three of the most attractive people on the planet and Liam Neeson? Yeah, buyers are interested.

Director: Jonathan Glazer
Cast: Scarlett Johnasson, Paul Brannigan
Sales Agent: WME, CAA

Johansson taking on science fiction is enticing enough that any distributor knows it can make some money back if it integrates VOD into the release strategy.

Director: Matthew Weiner
Cast: Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis
Sales Agent: ICM, CAA

So what if only a few million people watch “Mad Men”? It’s one of the most talked about shows on TV, a critical darling and a shoo-in for the TV pantheon. The mere involvement of its creator (Weiner) will earn this movie an avalanche of press attention and a nice deal.