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Image Entertainment to distribute Passion Play

TORONTO, Gregg Kilday — In a last-minute burst of activity that began Friday and continued through the weekend as the Toronto International Film Festival wound to a close, U.S. distributors snapped up six more movies.

Focus Features took home Mike Mills' father-and-son tale "Beginners"; Image Entertainment selected Mitch Glazer's "Passion Play," starring Mickey Rourke; Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions joined forces again to pick up the Will Ferrell drama "Everything Must Go," written and directed by Dan Rush; IFC Films made its third buy of a festival film by scooping up "Peep World," Barry Blaustein's tale of a dysfunctional family gathering; and Oscilloscope Laboratories opted for Kelly Reichardt's Western drama "Meek's Cutoff," starring Michelle Williams and Bruce Greenwood, and Jalmari Helander's "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale," a modern take on the Santa Claus legend.

"Beginners," written and directed by Mills ("Thumbsucker"), is an autobiographical tale set in Los Angeles that stars Ewan McGregor as a man coming to terms with his father (Christopher Plummer) after his dad comes out of the closet at 75 only to learn he is dying of cancer.

Focus took worldwide rights except for Canada, France, Australia, Scandinavia and Benelux in the deal, which guarantees about $2 million in a P&A commitment and will give the film's producers a share in the gross. Focus International will be the film's sales agent in the other territories it took on.

UTA Independent Film Group, repping the filmmakers, picked up another $2 million from the territories it already had sold in Toronto. UTA, which reps Mills and McGregor, packaged the film.

Focus will release the movie next year, possibly as summer counterprogramming like "The Kids Are All Right," which it released in July.

"Beginners" was produced by Olympus Pictures in association with Parts and Labor. Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Miranda de Pencier, Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy are the producers. Olympus also was a producer of "Rabbit Hole," which Lionsgate acquired here.

"Passion," written and directed by Glazer, stars Rourke as a jazz trumpeter who falls in love with a woman (Megan Fox) who sprouts wings. Bill Murray co-stars.

Image took U.S. rights in the deal, which closed Sunday and is valued at more than seven figures. Entertainment One will distribute in Canada.

Daniel Dubiecki and Megan Ellison produced the film, with Rebecca Wang an executive producer. ICM, which reps Glazer, Rourke and Fox, handled the sale.

Image will release "Passion" theatrically; release dates haven't been determined.

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