CineEurope: StudioCanal Debuts Footage From Stephen Frears' Lance Armstrong Film
BARCELONA — StudioCanal, the European film distribution and production giant owned by France's Vivendi, on Tuesday presented here at CineEurope for the first time in the company's and the event's history armed with first footage of Stephen Frears' untitled Lance Armstrong movie and an appearance onstage by The Gunman director Pierre Morel.
He talked the exhibitors in attendance through three exclusive clips from his action film starring Sean Penn, Idris Elba and Javier Bardem. He also showed a taped message from Hugh Bonneville for the studio's biggest movie rollout to date, Paddington.
European exhibitors also got a first look at Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in U.S. frontier costume drama Serena, which is set to be released in the last quarter of this year or the first of 2015 and presents a big festival hope for next year.
He also showed footage from the film about the rise and fall of cyclist Armstrong, played by Ben Foster. It is billed as a third or fourth quarter release for this year.
There was also rough cut footage from romantic comedy with a twist Man Up, starring Simon Pegg and Lake Bell.
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Bonneville, who recorded his message from "dreary old England" from the set of TV hit drama Downton Abbey, said he was sorry not to be in Barcelona but that he hoped the exhibitors would enjoy the clips from the film focused on the popular Paddington Bear character. The movie also stars Nicole Kidman alongside the Colin Firth-voiced bear.
The Downton actor joked that shooting Paddington had been a tough ask because at one point he had had to spend three days looking at Kidman in a tight-fitting catsuit during the shoot.
StudioCanal showed off the trailer for the film after screening an extended scene in the London underground where the bear takes on the ticket hall and escalators and another one where a visit to the bathroom goes wrong. The film is slated to begin its rollout Nov. 28 in the U.K. before the Weinstein Co. puts it out in the U.S. from Christmas Day.
Matthieu Zeller, StudioCanal executive vp, international marketing and distribution, and Simon Bobin, vp international distribution, whose wife gave birth to a baby boy Monday night but stayed in Spain for the presentation, hosted the company's Tuesday event.
Zeller and Bobin said that the hope is to build Paddington, produced by Harry Potter franchise guru David Heyman, into the next great British franchise after James Bond and the wizard films.
StudioCanal and Morel also hope Gunman may be the first in a franchise of "intelligent action" films from the stable. Morel introduced three scenes, the first of which showed off Penn as an all-action star fighting his way out of a sticky situation in the African jungle. Morel said that "with an actor as good as Penn, when he commits to being the character he commits 1,000 percent."
Morel's film, which shot in Africa, London and then Barcelona, is set to start its release in Feb. 2015.
"I hope it turns into a very cool action franchise," the director, whose resume boasts Taken with Liam Neeson, said. The director was quick to point out that he had no magic formula for turning established drama actors into action stars, but pointed out that it was only by having a "smart script" that he could secure "talent of the caliber" of Neeson and Penn.
StudioCanal also unspooled exclusive footage from Shaun Of The Sheep: The Movie, from Aaardman Animation of Wallace And Gromit and Chicken Run fame, which is dated for Feb. 6, 2015, in the U.K. before a worldwide rollout.
CineEurope, aimed squarely at the international exhibition industry, is used by the major studios and the big ticket independent distributors to spark anticipation for major releases on their release slates.
CineEurope is operated by FilmExpo Group, which is owned by THR's parent company, Guggenheim Partners. The annual convention of international exhibitors runs June 16-19 in Barcelona.