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Chris Rock's 'Top Five,' other Toronto films land distribution deals (Updated)

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For studios looking to buy at the Toronto International Film Festival, Chris Rock emerged a very hot property. The comedian’s Top Five sparked a bidding war, according to multiple reports, with Paramount emerging the victor and scoring the worldwide rights to the film, the studio announced today. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio paid around $12.5 million for the film.

“Chris and I go back decades, both personally and professionally, and so I am particularly proud to have watched his career grow to its highest heights over many decades,” Paramount Chairman and CEO Brad Grey said in a statement. “This film showcases brilliantly how talented Chris is as a filmmaker and storyteller and we are thrilled to be partnering with him, Scott Rudin and my longtime friend, the legendary Barry Diller and IACF for its worldwide launch.”

Rock’s film, which he co-wrote and directed, garnered wide acclaim at the festival—Vanity Fair even called it Rock’s Annie Hall. In the film Rock plays Andre Allen, a comedian-turned-movie star, who is being profiled for the New York Times by a reporter played by Rosario Dawson. Gabrielle Union is Andre’s reality star fiancée, and a variety of comedians—including Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, Kevin Hart, and Leslie Jones—also appear.

But Top Five isn’t the only film to score a deal at the festival. Here’s what studios have bought so far. We’ll be updating this post as more come in. (U.S. distribution deal unless otherwise noted.)

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Noah Baumbach's Toronto film goes for $4 million

Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, which stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a Brooklyn married couple stuck in a rut who are revitalized when they befriend a much younger couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried), was acquired by A24 at the Toronto Film Festival. The U.S. distribution rights went for $4 million, according to Deadline.

“We are enormous fans of Noah’s and were completely won over by While We’re Young,” said A24, in a statement. “Noah delivered a multi-generational comedy that is smart, extremely funny, and incredibly insightful, and which audiences across the country will embrace.” READ FULL STORY

Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts join 'Dallas Buyers' director's next film

While Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallée’s latest film Wild has yet to hit theaters, he has already found a pair of lead actors for his next project.

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Michael Keaton soars in new 'Birdman' trailer

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Michael Keaton got a career boost when he played Batman in both Batman and Batman Returns, and now he might get another one by playing a new superhero: Birdman.

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman follows Riggan Thomson (Keaton), an actor who’s famous for playing superhero Birdman but is now struggling to get his life together as he puts together a Broadway show. The film, which also stars Edward Norton and Zach Galifianakis, is set to open the Venice Film Festival August 27.

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Naomi Watts joins 'Insurgent' -- REPORT

Insurgent — the sequel to last March’s Divergent, adapted from the best-selling Veronica Roth books — has added another high-profile cast member: The Hollywood Reporter reports that Naomi Watts has signed on to play Evelyn, the leader of the Factionless. Watts’ role would include not just Insurgent, but the two final films planned for the final book in the trilogy, Allegiant. 

Watts joins new cast members Octavia Spencer and Suki Waterhouse, along with returning stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, and Kate Winslet. Robert Schwentke has taken over directing duties from Divergent director Neil Burger — filming began just last week — and the dystopian thriller is due in theaters March 2015.

Our calls to Summit for confirmation were not immediately returned.

Casting Net: Naomi Watts in talks to join Matthew McConaughey in 'Sea of Trees'; Plus, Dave Franco, more

• Naomi Watts (The Impossible) is in talks to join Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe in Gus Van Sant‘s Sea of Trees. Van Sant teased her potential casting at Cannes, where he hopes to shop the film. The drama follows an American ex-pat intent on taking his life in Japan’s Suicide Forest (or, the Sea of Trees) until he runs into Watanabe’s character — a fellow lost soul — and they both decide to find a way out of the forest together. Watts would play McConaughey’s wife in segments told in flashback. She currently has three movies in post including Birdman, St. Vincent De Van Nuys with Melissa McCarthy and Bill Murray, and Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, with Ben Stiller and Adam Driver. [THR] READ FULL STORY

'Diana' clip: The Princess and the heart surgeon -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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How does an ordinary guy ask out a Princess?

Movies love to posit scenarios where that might happen. Most of the time it’s just a storytelling fantasy (à la Roman Holiday), but in the new Princess Diana biopic (out Nov. 1), we actually get a chance to see an interpretation of how the late Princess of Wales met Dr. Hasnat Khan, the heart surgeon she fell in love with in the final years of her life.

Check out the exclusive clip of their second meeting below, when Khan (played by Lost‘s Naveen Andrews) gets up the nerve to ask out Diana (Naomi Watts).

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'Diana' poster recreates an iconic, lonely image -- EXCLUSIVE

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Diana lived her life in front of the cameras.

The late Princess of Wales was easily one of the most visible figures of the 20th century, so it seems fitting that the first poster for Diana, starring Naomi Watts, accentuates the dichotomy of her strange public/private life in one image. The shot of Diana in the Tiffany blue swimsuit sitting at the edge of that diving board on the yacht is immediately identifiable as her. But, it was also a paparazzi photo. Somehow a moment of repose captured by an uninvited photographer became one of the most iconic images of her short life.
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Casting Net: Tom Hiddleston to conquer 'Crimson Peak'; Plus, Jennifer Lopez, Naomi Watts, more

• We might still be lamenting the fact that Tom Hiddleston will not be appearing in The Avengers: Age of Ultron as the tormented Loki, but at least it frees him up to work with some other actors. Hiddleston has signed on to replace his War Horse co-star Benedict Cumberbatch in Guillermo del Toro’s thriller Crimson Peak, alongside Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, and Charlie Hunnam. [THR]

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'Diana' snags a November release date

It’s a release date fit for a Princess.

Diana, the Princess of Wales biopic starring Naomi Watts as the eponymous royal, will hit theaters in limited release on November 1, 2013. Entertainment One, who picked up the film for distribution at the Cannes Film Festival, announced the plans Monday, which positions Diana as an early awards hopeful.

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