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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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Anna Kendrick serenades Jeremy Jordan in 'The Last 5 Years' clip

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“You don’t have to get a haircut,” Anna Kendrick sings to her beloved in The Last 5 Years, “you don’t have to change your shoes.” And you don’t have to wait until the film’s 2015 release to get a taste of Kendrick as Cathy.

The Last 5 Years, directed by P.S. I Love You‘s Richard LaGravenese, is adapted from Jason Robert Brown’s Off-Broadway hit that follows a couple’s five-year relationship told almost exclusively through song—and also told from two different timelines. Cathy’s parts begin at the end of the relationship while Jamie’s (Jeremy Jordan) begin at the start of it, and the two story lines don’t collide until Jamie proposes. READ FULL STORY

Anna Kendrick musical 'Last 5 Years' lands TIFF sale, February release

Your next Valentine’s Day date may be a tearjerker.

In one of the first major acquisitions of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, the Weinstein Company’s boutique label RADiUS has picked up the North American rights to The Last 5 Years, the hotly anticipated film adaptation of the cult favorite Off-Broadway musical by Tony winner Jason Robert Brown. The movie is slated for a Valentine’s Day 2015 release. READ FULL STORY

Anna Kendrick dives into 'The Last Five Years' with Jeremy Jordan -- FIRST LOOK

Anna Kendrick did not expect to become Hollywood’s resident musical theater It Girl, even though she earned her first Tony Award nomination at 12 years old and made her film debut in the cult musical comedy Camp.

With Pitch Perfect under her belt and the upcoming big-box items Into the Woods and Pitch Perfect 2 on deck, Kendrick’s next belting role is significantly more indie. She’ll play Cathy Hyatt in writer-director Richard LaGravenese’s film adaptation of Jason Robert Brown’s musical The Last Five Years, an Off Broadway two-hander that tells the story of a couple’s five-year relationship through two interweaving storylines (one moves forward, the other backwards).

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, EW has an exciting official first look at Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan (Smash, Broadway’s Newsies) in the roles of struggling actress Cathy and rising novelist Jamie. The film is in the can and about to screen for buyers, who would be wise to snatch up the alluring Kendrick and Jordan and the giant fanbase that the cult musical has accrued since debuting in 2001.

We caught up with Kendrick to talk about her surprising arrival on Hollywood’s movie-musical scene, getting drunk with her co-star, and whether there’s another stage turn in her future. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Megan Fox reunites with Michael Bay; Plus Adam Sandler and James Marsden

• It’s a Transformers reunion: Megan Fox is joining Michael Bay‘s TMNT reboot. Bay, who is producing the movie, announced the news on his blog with the simple, one-sentence post, “TMNT: we are bringing Megan Fox back into the family!” EW has confirmed that Fox will play April O’Neil, the Turtles’ human friend, and that the movie is set to start shooting this spring. Fox has spoken publicly about her on-set friction with Bay – she once said the blockbuster mastermind is “like Hitler on his sets” – but now, lucky for Michelangelo and co. (or not so lucky, depending on whom you ask), it looks like Fox and Bay have patched things up. [Michaelbay.com]

• Adam Sandler is switching up his schedule. His comic Western Ridiculous 6 will be delayed as a result of Sandler signing on to star in an untitled romantic comedy about a blended family. Drew Barrymore is being considered for the female lead. The film is being developed at Warner Bros., and will now also be produced by Sandler’s company, Happy Madison. [Variety, Deadline]

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