Byron Allen puts Hollywood on notice with major haul at Toronto International Film Festival

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Byron Allen has more than a few people looking his way after the Toronto Film Festival.

In just a few hours on Friday, he announced his “arrival,” as The Tracking Board put it, into the industry’s A-game when he acquired the sci-fi flick Replicas for $4 million. The flick stars Keanu Reeves, which can certainly do a lot for Allen’s Entertainment Studios to attract star power. If a big name like Reeves is pleased with what Allen and his studio can do, then other stars might just be attracted to the studio.

Add to that his deal to spend $20 million on Chappaquiddick, the movie detailing the story of Ted Kennedy’s fatal car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne. While that moment in history marked the end of any presidential aspirations for Kennedy, the movie about that moment could be huge for Allen to show that he and his studio have what it takes to spend the money and the marketing on something like this.

Allen found success and fame with the summer surprise hit of 47 Meters Down, the shark movie that ended up bringing in $44 million and surprising entertainment industry gurus with its summer sleeper success. A sequel is already in place for the film, and with these three projects alone, it looks like Allen is headed for some well-deserved acclaim.

Variety’s Brett Lang called Allen’s acquisitions in Toronto the festival’s “biggest surprise,” adding that Allen “seems determined to become a full-fledged movie mogul.”

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