As the Toronto International Film Festival prepares for its comeback year, who better to help get Canada’s splashiest arts organization back to its extra-sharp self than Daniel Craig, Rian Johnson and enough movie stars to fill a high-wattage murder-mystery? On Wednesday, festival organizers announced this year’s first official selection: the world premiere of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
The highly anticipated sequel to Johnson’s 2019 whodunnit hit Knives Out reunites the director with star Craig, once again playing Detective Benoit Blanc, plus a boatload of famous faces (Edward Norton, Janelle Monae, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista) playing potential killers in sunny Greece.
The film is produced by Netflix, which acquired the rights to the sequel and a third yet-to-be-produced Knives Out film for a record US$469-million last year from media company MRC and Lionsgate. Easily the streaming giant’s highest-profile title of 2022, Glass Onion is set to be released theatrically in the fall, with industry reports indicating that the film may play cinemas longer than is typical for a Netflix production before it becomes available to stream to subscribers.
In a media release issued Wednesday, TIFF did not indicate whether Glass Onion would act as the opening night film for this September’s festival. Still, the world premiere marks a homecoming of sorts for Johnson. In addition to debuting his first Knives Out movie in Toronto three years ago, Johnson’s sci-fi thriller Looper opened the 2012 edition of TIFF, while his dark comedy The Brothers Bloom had its world premiere here in 2008.
For TIFF, the Glass Onion announcement doubles as a star-powered declaration that the festival is heading back to its bigger, glitzier prepandemic self after enduring two years in scaled-down hybrid mode. This past April, TIFF announced its 47th edition will be a “fully in-person” affair, with 11 days of full-capacity screenings at familiar venues including the Bell Lightbox, Roy Thomson Hall, the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Scotiabank multiplex, and, for the first time, the Royal Alexandra Theatres.
Meanwhile, the number of films TIFF will screen looks to be near pre-2020 levels – although with few virtual elements.
“We’re not going to do online like the last two years,” TIFF chief executive Cameron Bailey said during a press event in April. “But we did learn things. So we have a digital platform year-round, and for festival time we want to have an offering there. It won’t be the full festival, but a sampling.”
Expect that sampling to be especially small, though, and almost guaranteed to be Knives Out-free. When TIFF revealed its ticket pricing tiers last month, there were no virtual-screening options listed. Prices for this year’s festival start at $19 for regular screenings and go up to $127 for the opening night film.
The 47th edition of TIFF runs Sept. 8–18 (tiff.net)
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