What to Read Next

TIFF 2012: The festival’s major box office contenders

Will Perkins
Wide Screen
September 16, 2012

While the Toronto International Film Festival is mostly known for turning out indie darlings and awards season contenders, potential box office champs have started using the fest as a major launch pad.

See also: More coverage of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival

It's easy to spot Hollywood productions during TIFF: they're the movies that get the big red carpet premieres and so-called "premium screenings." Many of them also happen to be a little more "mainstream" than most of the festival's other offerings and have wide releases scheduled for after the festival.

If you missed TIFF 2012 or just didn't care for it, here are some of the festival films primed for box office success.

See also: Lucrative deals made behind-the-scenes at TIFF 2012

Smart, action-packed, and thoroughly entertaining science fiction, Rian Johnson's "Looper" opened TIFF with a time-travelling, telekinetic bang. Reuniting director Johnson with "Brick" star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "Looper" follows Joe Simmons, a hit man whose job it is to assassinate people sent back in time by the future mafia. Things get more complicated for Joe when his employers try to "close the loop" by sending his future self (Bruce Willis) back to be executed. The fact is that "Looper" is better executed than 99 per cent of the sci-fi currently being churned out by Hollywood; it actually feels like it's bringing something new and exciting to the table. That, combined with the appeal of rising star Gordon-Levitt and the always saleable badassery of Bruce Willis, makes "Looper" one of the sure bets to come out of the festival. "Looper" will be released in theatres on Sept. 28.

"Dredd 3D"
Action movies are rare birds at TIFF, and 3D action even more so. But "Dredd 3D" was there to kick off Midnight Madness, the festival's late-night genre programme, in explosive slow-mo style. No, this is not a reboot of the 1995 Sylvester Stallone vehicle "Judge Dredd," but it is based on the same ultra-violent comic book source material. Karl Urban ("Star Trek") stars as Judge Dredd, a future cop given the power to dispense justice on the spot. The dystopian sci-fi flick sees Dredd charged with the training of a rookie Judge (Olivia Thirlby) on a very bad day that includes taking on a 200-storey building full of murderous drug dealers. And you thought your first day on the job was bad! Despite some minor qualms, genre fans overwhelmingly gave the film high marks at TIFF. If that buzz can last until its wide release on Sept. 21, then the sentence for "Dredd 3D" is box office success.

"Cloud Atlas"
Three directors -- the Wachowskis ("The Matrix) and Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run") -- team up for what is easily the most ambitious film to come out of Hollywood in years. "Cloud Atlas" is a sprawling adaptation of David Mitchell's century-spanning novel of the same name, one that doesn't entirely work but that's entertaining to watch play out anyway. The $100 million film weaves six seemingly disparate stories together into a yarn about the interconnectedness of a people and the far-reaching effects that their actions can have. With the Wachowskis at the helm and an all-star cast that includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, and Hugh Grant, "Cloud Atlas" has a lot going for it on name recognition alone. However, the oft-times confusing narrative and deeply philosophical concepts at play might put audiences off. Many who saw the film at TIFF are predicting that "Cloud Atlas" will be the next "Inception" — a blockbuster movie that makes you think.

Actor-turned-director Ben Affleck dramatizes the story of the "Canadian Caper," a 1979 covert operation to rescue American diplomats holed up at the Canadian embassy in revolutionary Iran. And what a caper it was! CIA exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Affleck) uses the cover story of a Canadian film crew scouting locations for a "Star Wars" rip-off in Iran to get members of the embassy staff out. Both funny and gripping, "Argo" may be a potboiler thriller by the numbers, but it's one that is made extremely watchable thanks to a talented ensemble cast that includes Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Clea DuVall, Tate Donovan, and Victor Garber. If the positive reaction to the film at TIFF was any indication, both box office and awards season glory await "Argo."

Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read This

United States drivers are surprised that they never knew this. If you drive less than 50 mi/day, you better read this...

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read This

United States drivers are stunned that they never knew this. If you drive less than 50 mi/day, you better read this...

This $625 Intro Bonus Is Insane

A leading credit card issuer just raised its intro bonus to an industry-leading $500 cash or $625 in travel. And no annual fee the first year.

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Pay off your high interest credit cards and save

Borrow up to $35,000, with rates as low as 5.99% APR. Consolidate credit card debt and save with a cash loan. Compare rates and save at LendingTree.

Do NOT pay your insurance until you try this.

If you drive less than 55 miles/day OR have no DUI's you can get auto insurance for as low as $29/ Month! See if you qualify.

Find Out How SoFi Can Help Refinance Your Loans

SoFi is refinancing student loans with fixed rates as low as 3.5% APR...

Bad News For Insurance, Great News For Virginia

Virginia drivers, with cars and good driving records are learning that they may qualify for lower car insurance rates. Do you qualify?

Play Bingo & Make Friends On Classmates®!

With games, a reunion center and countless yearbooks to browse, you'll find hours of endless fun on Classmates®!

Kid sleep troubles email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track to learn how to handle kids who won’t go to sleep or won’t stay in bed.