Jason "Son of Ivan" Reitman's directorial debut, Thank You For Smoking, sparked a brutal bidding war this weekend in Toronto - one which both Fox Searchlight and Paramount Classics each seem to think they've won. Paramount staffers were actually seen on the party circuit Saturday night, bragging that they'd snatched up international rights to the tobacco-industry satire with a handshake for about $6.5 million. With their morning hangovers came the news that Fox has actually closed a deal overnight for every territory outside Italy, France, Benelux, Switzerland and Scandinavia.

How could this happen? Paramount, for their part, was not above getting catty:
"We own the movie," said studio chiefs Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein. "We are looking forward to working with Jason Reitman and the film. But we are dealing with a new, fresh producer in the movie business. This is the first time he's done this." Yeah, okay, but other sources are tsk-tsking the whole handshake/go out and party business maneuver: "Never leave the room till it's signed," an aquisitions exec told Variety. "That's the way we've been trained." They're referring to David Sacks, the former COO of PayPal, who popped his producing cherry on the film. The two distributors are currently rumored to be hashing out a plan to co-distribute the property; they patched together a similar deal on Napoleon Dynamite.

categories Movies, Cinematical