Netflix has secured the U.S. and multiple international rights to Anna Kendrick’s directorial debut, “Woman of the Hour,” for approximately $11 million. The acquisition was confirmed after the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

The Deal and Distribution Rights

The streaming giant clinched the deal, which includes rights for regions such as France, Italy, Benelux, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. CAA Media Finance spearheaded the U.S. sales, which were described as receiving multiple offers, making Netflix’s acquisition the first significant purchase of this year’s TIFF.

The Film’s Premise and Casting

“Woman of the Hour” is based on a true-life thriller and is an adaptation of Ian MacDonald’s Black List script. Anna Kendrick stars as Cheryl Bradshaw, a participant in the 1970s TV show, “The Dating Game.” The plot takes a dark turn when her chosen bachelor, played by Daniel Zovatto, is revealed to be Rodney Alcala, a serial killer. The film also stars Tony Hale and Nicolette Robinson.

Production and Financing

Produced by Anna Kendrick alongside AGC Studio’s CEO Stuart Ford, the movie was initially pitched at last year’s TIFF. Roy Lee and Miri Yoon are among those who share producer credits. BondIt Media Capital financed the project for AGC Studios, while Matthew Helderman and Luke Taylor served as executive producers.

A Unique Position for Kendrick and TIFF

Unlike most films screened at TIFF, “Woman of the Hour” did not sign a SAG-AFTRA interim agreement. A statement from Kendrick, who could not attend the festival, was read during the premiere, highlighting her pride in having her directorial debut at TIFF and her 14-year association with the festival.

Critical Reception and Public Screening

The film was screened at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, a popular venue for films seeking distribution deals. It has received positive reviews, particularly praising Anna Kendrick’s capabilities as a first-time director.

Back to Netflix

Interestingly, Netflix had initially optioned the story but shelved the project due to budget constraints. The film marks a return to the platform that initially showed interest, proving a bold yet rewarding decision for Kendrick to step into the director’s role when the original director exited the project.

With this acquisition, Netflix has reinforced its commitment to distributing high-quality, artist-driven content. “Woman of the Hour” not only marks a new chapter for Anna Kendrick but also sets a benchmark for future deals at TIFF and in the broader streaming landscape.