CANNES: Tom Hanks' 'Cloud Atlas' Leads Ambitious Focus Int’l Slate

Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
 

Alison Thompson's Focus Features International is bringing one of its most diverse slates ever to the Marche du Film at Cannes, including the $100 million Tom Hanks event pic Cloud Atlas from co-directors Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer.

The movie is based on David Mitchell's best-selling novel, which follows six narratives across vastly different time periods, from high-seas drama to 1970s California to dystopian fantasy.

Warner Bros. snapped up domestic distribution rights to Cloud Atlas this year from Anarchos Pictures and X Filme, while Focus International -- a division of Focus Features -- was tapped to handle international sales.

Thompson is one of the most respected foreign sales executives in the business. Last year, she sold Hanna at Cannes. The film, distributed in the U.S. by Focus Features, has become a box office hit and has started to roll out overseas.

For years, Focus Features -- like the Weinstein Co. -- has used its foreign sales division to support the bottom line by repping third-party titles as well as to raise money for some of its own productions through foreign presales.

"First of all, in general, everybody is excited about the market this year, both in terms of the films that are being presented and the turnaround in the market. For Focus specifically, we are excited to be bringing one of the most varied slates ever with incredible filmmakers," Focus Features president Andrew Karpen said.

Thompson also will be showcasing Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom to foreign buyers (Focus Features will distribute the film domestically). Anderson has already begun shooting the film, from an original script by Roman Coppola, about a New England coastal town turned upside down when a young girl and boy run away together.

Moonrise stars Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman. Newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward play the youngsters.

Moonrise Kingdom is being produced by Anderson, Scott Rudin, Indian Paintbrush's Steven Rales and American Empirical's Jeremy Dawson. Indian Paintbrush executive produced and co-financed Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Darjeeling Limited, both produced by Rudin as well.

Focus Features' untitled Paul Weitz film -- starring Robert De Niro and Paul Dano -- also will be shopped to international distributors for the first time. The film is based on Nick Flynn's 2004 memoir and also stars Lili Taylor, Olivia Thirlby and Julianne Moore. Weitz and Andrew Miano are producing with Corduroy Films and De Niro's Tribeca Prods. Focus will release the film domestically.

Another potential high-profile title for Focus International is Franklin D. Roosevelt historical drama Hyde Park on the Hudson, starring Murray. Roger Michell (Notting Hill) will direct and produce alongside Kevin Loader (In the Loop) and David Aukin.
Focus International also is selling Andrew Adamson's Mister Pip. Hugh Laurie is attached to star in the film, which is based on New Zealand author Lloyd Jones' book that's shaped around the plot of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. There's no domestic distributor yet.

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