Cannes: STX Wins Battle for Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman'

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Martin Scorsese

The company will handle the project internationally, while Paramount has domestic duties.

Martin Scorsese's long-gestating project The Irishman, his latest foray into the world of mobsters, is landing on the Croisette.

STX has won a fierce bidding war to handle foreign rights and will shop the project to international buyers gathered at Cannes. Fabrica de Cine is fully financing the $100 million movie, with Paramount handling domestic distribution duties. A source pegged the STX deal at $50 million.

The Irishman reunites Scorsese with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, with DeNiro playing Frank Sheeran, a high-ranking Teamsters official with ties to the Bufalino crime family. Shortly before his death in 2003, Sheeran confessed that he killed fellow Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa, whose body has never been found. He also claimed that it was Hoffa who wanted John F. Kennedy killed.

De Niro and Pacino have been attached to star in The Irishman for years. The movie finally has finally received a start date now that the financing has been decided, with Scorsese set to start shooting in January following the release of his upcoming passion project, Silence.

Silence was likewise co-financed by Paramount and Fabrica de Cine, with IM Global handling international sales.

Gangs of New York writer Steve Zaillian wrote the script for The Irishman, based on Charles Brandt's best-selling book I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa.

“We value STX’s passion and belief in this project," said Fabrica de Cine chairman and CEO Gaston Pavlovich. "Seeing the dynamism of their team, the experience of their senior executives, and their shared vision for creating powerful content, we decided to entrust STX Entertainment with The Irishman as the best possible partner to handle the international distribution for this project. They are passionate about film and were excited to be such an important part of creating this long-awaited collaboration between the legendary actors and director, which will be a milestone in film history. The Irishman is an event on a global scale, and Adam [Fogelson] and David [Kosse] are innovative and entrepreneurs with one of the best executive teams working in the business today.”

Added STX International president Kosse: “We could not be more excited or privileged to have secured the international rights to this incredible motion picture. Fabrica de Cine’s vision and support in putting together this film is incredible. Martin Scorsese is one of the world’s most accomplished filmmakers and The Irishman is precisely the kind of premier tentpole programming that will help distinguish STX as we continue to build our studio and especially our infrastructure overseas."

Securing international on The Irishman is a major coup for STX. Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) took in more than $275 million overseas and The Departed (2006) earned more than $157 million in international box-office receipts.

Earlier this week, STX secured the rights to distribute Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly’s Game in the U.S. and China. The film is written and directed by Sorkin and will star Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba.

Kosse, who acquired international rights to Wolf of Wall Street when he and Fogelson were at Universal, was instrumental in securing the film along with STX’s president of international sales John Friedberg.

Pavlovich negotiated the deal along with Fabrica de Cine’s president of production Manu Gargi, who oversees the company’s operations in the U.S.

The Irishman is sure to spark keen interest among foreign buyers, who are eager to get their hands on studio-level projects with A-list cast.

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