AFM 2012: Why the Slowdown Is Coming
Already picky buyers gathering beachside in Santa Monica this year won’t have as many high-profile projects from which to choose as the international film business regroups after a mini-boom.
While business may slow a bit in comparison to previous markets, there are still plenty of projects for buyers to check out. And, in addition to the titles listed below, Summit International will shop the Ed Zwick-directed Pawn Sacrifice, written by Steven Knight, while Nu Image/Millennium will introduce The Expendables 3 (fine timing, considering The Expendables 2 just crossed the $300 million mark worldwide). There’s also word of an Anthony Hopkins project in the offing, Solace, from emerging director Afonso Poyart.
And So It Goes ...
Starring: Diane Keaton, Michael Douglas
Director: P.J. Hogan
Sales company: Foresight Unlimited
Producers: Alan Greisman, Rob Reiner, Mark Damon
Synopsis: Oren (Douglas) is a self-centered and eccentric realtor who couldn’t care less about anyone else, but when his estranged son suddenly drops off a granddaughter he never knew, his life is turned upside down. Now, with the help of his determined and lovable neighbor, Leah (Keaton), he learns to fall in love again.
As Cool As I Am
Starring: Claire Danes, James Marsden, Peter Fonda, Sarah Bolger
Director: Max Mayer
Sales company: Radiant Films International
Production companies: Identity Pictures, Wind Dancer Productions
Synopsis: Based on the novel by Peter Fromm, the film centers on Lucy (Bolger), a teenager whose self-centered parents (Danes, Marsden) had her when they were teens. As she turns 14, Lucy becomes more in tune with her sexuality and her family dynamics.
Born to be King
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Kate Hudson
Director: Peter Capaldi
Sales-production company: Indomina Releasing
Synopsis: In the romantic comedy, McGregor plays an extra and Hudson is the film star who falls for him. It’s McGregor’s second AFM project; in the other, heist thriller Son of a Gun, which Altitude Film Entertainment is selling, he plays Public Enemy No. 1 in Australia. Julius Avery wrote the film and directs.
Starring: Shailene Woodley
Director: Neil Burger
Sales company: Summit International
Production company: Red Wagon Entertainment Synopsis Based on the best-selling novel by Veronica Roth, the action thriller is set in a futuristic world where society has been divided into five factions. When young Tris Piror (Woodley) discovers that she is a “Divergent,” someone who can’t fit into any one faction, she must conceal this fact or risk her life.
The Enchanted House
Director: Ben Stassen
Sales company: StudioCanal
Production companies: uMedia, StudioCanal
Synopsis: Family fare is an area in which 3D continues to deliver, and Stassen, the Belgian helmer of 3D animated features Fly Me to the Moon and two Sammy’s Adventures films, has one of the genre’s best track records. His latest is a 3D family adventure set in a haunted house.
5 to 7
Starring: Diane Kruger, Anton Yelchin
Director: Victor Levin
Sales company: Solution Entertainment Group
Producers: Bonnie Curtis, Julie Lynn
Synopsis: From a script by Levin (Mad Men), the film is set in New York, where an aspiring novelist (Yelchin) has an affair with the beautiful, older wife (Kruger) of a French diplomat. Cultures, worldviews, ethics and dietary preferences clash as love deepens in this romantic comedy.
Hold On to Me
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Robert Pattinson
Director: James Marsh
Sales company: FilmNation Producers Alexandra Milchan, Todd Field
Production company: Indian Paintbrush
Synopsis: Described as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, the thriller centers on a small-town girl (Mulligan) who callously leaves her boyfriend (Pattinson) behind to chase a modeling career in New York, breaking his heart. But she ends up back home as a waitress and embarks on a life of crime when her ex refuses to take her back.
How I Live Now
Starring: Saoirse Ronan
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Sales company: Protagonist Pictures
Production companies: Film4, Cowboy Films, Protagonist Pictures, Passion Pictures
Synopsis: The drama has the star of Hanna back in survival mode, playing an American girl on holiday in the English countryside who is forced to fight for her life when war breaks out.
How to Make Money Selling Drugs
Starring: 50 Cent, David Simon, Arianna Huffington, Woody Harrelson, Eminem
Director: Matthew Cooke
Sales company: Lightning Entertainment
Producers: Adrian Grenier, Bert Marcus
Synopsis: The provocative documentary explores how public policy and government drug enforcement have struggled to creatively adapt and dissuade Americans from dealing drugs.
Starring: Al Pacino, Jeremy Renner, Julianne Moore
Director: Dan Fogelman
Sales company: Mister Smith Entertainment
Producers: Denise Di Novi, Jessie Nelson, Nimitt Mankad
Production company: Inimitable Pictures
Synopsis: Aging 1970s musician Danny Collins (Pacino) is still living the hard life and playing to sellout shows. When he decides to straighten out his life on his 64th birthday and reconnect with his son (Renner), he discovers an undelivered letter written to him when he was 19 by John Lennon.
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan
Director-producer: David Gordon Green
Sales company: WestEnd Films Production company Worldview Entertainment
Synopsis: A man (Cage) becomes the unlikeliest of role models to 15-year-old Gary Jones (Sheridan), the oldest child of a homeless family ruled by a worthless father. Together they try to find a path to redemption and the hope for a better life in the rugged, dirty world of a Southern town.
Kill Your Friends
Starring: Rafe Spall
Director: Owen Harris
Sales-production company: Altitude Film Entertainment
Producer: Gregor Cameron
Synopsis: Based on John Niven’s cult novel, this is billed as a no-holds-barred satirical take on the music industry at the height of the 1980s Britpop glory days of Oasis and Blur. It follows an A&R man (Spall) who ends up going to killer lengths to find the next hit.
The Last Five Years
Starring: Anna Kendrick
Director-producer: Richard LaGravenese
Sales company: The Exchange Production company Lucky Monkey Pictures
Synopsis: The film adaptation of Jason Robert Brown’s hit off-Broadway musical deconstructs the love affair and marriage between a struggling actress (Kendrick) and a novelist.
Director: Jodie Foster
Sales company: IM Global
Production companies: The Allegiance Theater, IM Global
Synopsis: In this drama, Lee Gates is a TV personality whose insider trading tips have made him a guru on Wall Street. When Kyle, a viewer who lost his family’s money on a bad tip from Lee, holds Lee hostage on the air, ratings soar as the country tunes in to this media frenzy to find out just how much a man’s life is worth. Production is scheduled to start in early 2013, and the cast could be announced during AFM.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Sales company: Studio Canal
Production company: Dark Castle
Synopsis: Unknown director Collet-Serra reteams with action star Neeson for this thriller centered on an air marshal battling to rescue an international flight.
Starring: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan
Director: Stephen Frears
Sales company: Pathe
Production companies: BBC Films, Pathe, Baby Cow Productions, Magnolia Mae Films
Synopsis: Based on a true story, the bittersweet comedy features an Irishwoman (Dench) who sets out with a cynical journalist (Coogan) to find the son taken from her by well-meaning nuns and sent to America for adoption 50 years ago.
Starring: Michael Douglas, Christoph Waltz
Director: Mike Newell
Sales Company: HanWay Films
Production companies: Headline Pictures, Scott Free Productions, Participant Media, Mark Sennet Productions
Synopsis: The politically minded biopic features Douglas as Ronald Reagan and Waltz as Mikhail Gorbachev. The plot focuses on the leaders’ nowfamous meeting in Iceland in 1986 that signaled the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
Starring: Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson
Director: Jimmy Hayward
Sales company: Relativity Media
Production companies: Relativity Media, Reel FX
Synopsis: The animated film, slated for release in 2014, is billed as an adventurous buddy comedy in which two turkeys from opposite sides of the track (Wilson, Harrelson) put aside their differences to travel back in time and change the course of history — and get turkey off the menu for good.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler Director: Martin Scorsese
Sales-production company: Red Granite Pictures
Synopsis: The financial thriller, based on the memoir by Jordan Belfort, is expected to be one of the hottest titles at AFM. Red Granite waited to shop the film to foreign buyers until it had secured a domestic distributor. On the eve of the market, Red Granite announced that Paramount will market and release the movie domestically and is planning a winter 2013 release.
Untitled Woody Allen Project
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Louis C.K., Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay, Michael Emerson, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard, Max Casella, Alden Ehrenreich
Director: Woody Allen
Sales company: Focus Features International
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum
The Zero Theorem
Starring: Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, David Thewlis, Lucas Hedges
Director: Terry Gilliam
Sales-production company: Voltage Pictures
Synopsis: Qohen Leth (Waltz) is an eccentric and reclusive computer genius living in an Orewellian corporate world ruled by the “Management” who sets out to solve the mathematical formula that will reveal if life has any meaning.
Stuart Kemp and Aurelie Godet contributed to this report.