IFC Films was victorious in its bid for the US rights to the James Gunn directed Super after an all night auction at the Toronto International Film Festival. The company is reported to have outbid the competition (including Magnolia Pictures) with a 7-figure deal.
Super scored huge with the audience at its premier during the “midnight madness low-budget genre program” on Friday night. Super is the story of Frank D’Arbo’s transformation from an everyman to a plumbers wrench wielding superhero.
Here’s the Super synopsis:
“In Super Frank’s (Rainn Wilson) wife leaves him for a seductive, psychopathic drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), Frank is transformed and the Crimson Bolt is born. With a hand-made suit, a wrench, and a crazed sidekick named Boltie (Ellen Page), the Crimson Bolt beats his way through the mean streets of crime in hopes of saving his wife (Liv Tyler). The rules were written a long time ago: You are not supposed to molest children, cut lines or key cars; if you do, prepare to face the wrath of the Crimson Bolt!”
Given the less than stellar box office performance of Scott Pilgrim vs the World and what some consider a waning audience interest in the superhero genre, Super could be considered a somewhat risky bet. Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn’s prediction that the current superhero genre boom is reaching its conclusion played into his decision to direct X-Men: First Class while the genre was still hot.
IFC Films seems confident however, that Super can and will win big for them under their new IFC Midnight banner.
Jonathan Sehring, President of IFC Entertainment said, ‘James Gunn has made one of the most creative and subversive films of the year with an outstanding cast including Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler and Kevin Bacon. This is exactly the kind of film we want the IFC Midnight brand to be associated with.’
‘I never had to compromise in the making of this movie and I couldn’t be more excited to have found a distribution partner wanting to embrace the extremities and balls-to-the-walls qualities of Super’ said James Gunn.
I personally love this kind of film and believe that it does have a place in theaters. I also think the measure for success cannot be set against films like The Avengers or Iron Man. These films have vastly dissimilar production budgets than Super as well as franchise draw and star power. It should also be noted that while IFC reportedly paid 7 figures for this film, there is no mention of what the first number in the series of seven is. It is quite possible that this film can easily return on IFC’s investment.