Chris Rock sparked a bidding war in Toronto with his third directorial effort, Top Five, which he also wrote and stars in.

Top Five premiered at TIFF on Sept. 6, and was immediately courted by studio distributors, including CBS Films, Relativity Media, Lionsgate and Fox Searchlight. Paramount finally closed the deal, winning the rights to distribute Top Five for a reported $12.5 million. The deal also reportedly includes a $20 million marketing budget, making it one of the biggest financial winners at the festival.

Top Five is a pseudo-reality comedy, about a comedian (Rock) who is trying to be taken seriously as an actor while his fiancée, a reality star, convinces him to air their wedding on her show. And, in addition to sparking a bidding war, the film, which also stars Rosario Dawson and Kevin Hart, was well received by audiences and critics alike.


A week of entertainment news in your in-box.
We find the news you need to know, so you don't have to.

“It’s like watching a first-rate standup routine transformed into fiction, or in this case auto-fiction, as Rock has more on his mind than just making us laugh, offering up a witty celebrity satire that doubles as a love story set during one long and eventful New York City day,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter’s Jordan Mintzer.

Another review called the film “Chris Rock’s Annie Hall," writing, “Heading into a festival boasting starry new projects from acclaimed directors like Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Jean-Marc Velle (Wild) and David Cronenberg (Maps to the Stars), the comedian who directed Head of State wasn’t on many critics and buyers’ minds pre-TIFF. Nobody could have expected the star of Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 to emerge as the fest’s MVP.”

“Rock has finally found a big-screen vehicle for himself that comes close to capturing the electric wit, shrewd social observations and deeply autobiographical vein of his standup comedy,” wrote Scott Foundas of Variety.

Leave a comment