Chris Rock Lands $12.5 Million Deal with Paramount for His New Film “Top Five”

Top Five Toronto Film Festival

Paramount is about to finalize what will likely be the biggest deal of this year’s Toronto Film Festival: a whopping $12.5 million for the Chris Rock comedy “Top Five.”  The studio, which is acquiring worldwide rights to the movie, has also agreed to spend $20 million on marketing.

The Scott Rudin-produced film, which Rock stars in and directs about a day in the life of a comedian movie star, premiered in Toronto on Saturday night and sparked a fierce bidding war among several studios.

The film’s budget was north of $10 million.  Buyers interested in the film included CBS Films, Sony, Open Road and Relativity.

Part of the concern for potential buyers is that with a substantial promotional commitment and Rock’s limited international following, the film would be almost wholly dependent on its domestic box office in order to make a profit. However, the film was enthusiastically received by audiences at Toronto and knowledgeable insiders say it has real commercial potential.

Paramount makes sense because the studio’s chief, Brad Grey, has a longstanding relationship with Rock.

article by Brent Lang and Ramin Setoodeh via Variety.com

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