What films will screen or premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival?
Early Tuesday morning, the Toronto International Film Festival will announce its initial wave of films for the 2014 edition of the festival. As usual, there will be a slew of films that have played at either Cannes or Sundance, a number of star-filled projects looking for distribution, some broader studio films that may or may not be awards season fodder and then, of course, the potential Oscar players.
Toronto has long had to juggle landing the best premieres with Venice, but more recently has found their thunder stolen by a little festival in Colorado that actually has Academy members in attendance: Telluride. TIFF has reportedly threatened less-prestigious galas or slots after Wednesday (gasp! not after Wednesday!), but for the most part, Hollywood's studios seem to have taken it all with a collective yawn. Toronto is important, yes. What's best for each individual film's release and publicity campaign is slightly more important.
Venice has already landed Fox Searchlight's "Birdman" as its opening night film. The bigger surprise, however, is the New York Film Festival making something of a comeback snagging two of the most anticipated films of the year with David Fincher's "Gone Girl" opening and Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" as its centerpiece. Oh, and they also landed the aforementioned "Birdman" as the closing night gala. As for "the" most anticipated film of the year, Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar?" We're throwing our hands in the air with that one. It could do any of these major festivals or none of them at all.
That being said, let's review some of the titles in the mix for Toronto and predict their chances for making the cut.
Lowdown: One of Fox Searchlight's major awards players, it's directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Canadian) and star Reese Witherspoon will likely have another film at the festival as well.
Lowdown: Alejandro González Iñárritu's dramedy is opening Venice, but it also hits theaters about six weeks after Toronto. That's too convenient for all the worldwide press in attendance.
Lowdown: Tough call. Does Sony Pictures wait and try to land a premiere AFI Fest slot just prior to opening in theaters or do they start the buzz earlier? Not an easy decision with a mid-Nov. release date.
"This Is Where I Leave You"
Lowdown: Opens in the U.S. a week after the festival ends. Warner Bros. will already be there with other movies. This is the kind of star-filled title TIFF loves to roll the red carpet out for as a gala. I'd be shocked if it's not announced (and that would probably a bad sign about the movie itself).
"The Good Lie"
Lowdown: Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros.' drama about the Lost Boys of Sudan stars Reese Witherspoon (who has that other festival movie, "Wild") and opens less than a month later. Lock it in.
Lowdown: It's still hard to tell if David Dobkin's film is an awards player or not. The bigger question is if Downey can't get free of shooting "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," is it even worth it for the studio or TIFF's programmers?
"Kill The Messenger"
Lowdown: "Homeland" executive producer Michael Cuesta (who also directed the pilot) helms this true story which features Jeremy Renner in what could be a showy, awards-worthy role. It also opens less than a month later. All that press up in Toronto? Too hard to pass up.
Lowdown: Open Road Films had tremendous success bringing Jake Gyllenhaal's "End of Watch" to Toronto two years ago. Gyllenhall is no stranger to the festival having screened or debuted films there at least seven times, including "Prisoners" and "Enemy" last year. This is another mid-October release that could use a TIFF publicity push.
Lowdown: The Weinstein Company always brings a number of films to throw up against the wall, er, see how they will be received from the world's critics who have congregated in the Great White North. "St. Vincent" looks like a coming-of-age comedy, but its late-October release date (Oct. 24) suggests something more. The trailer was also shockingly good. If Bill Murray can come, we're guessing the movie does too.