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On the eve of AFM, Foresight Unlimited’s Mark Damon and Timothy Scott Bogart were in marathon negotiations to close a deal for Spike Lee to direct Justin Timberlake in Spinning Gold, a biopic of legendary record executive Neil Bogart. The timing was agonizing for Damon, who wanted Lee in place before the start of the American Film Market. It was a familiar story for sales agents at AFM, who are increasingly frustrated at the difficulty in closing talent deals as the pool of viable stars becomes overfished. The pact with Lee was made official just as AFM got underway Wednesday — but not a moment to soon.
Ryan Kavanaugh sees plenty of new financing opportunities for independents and a tough summer ahead for major studios who are depending on expensive action movies to win over audiences. “My prediction is that there is going to be a major blood bath,” said the Relativity Media CEO during the opening panel of the American Film Market finance conference on Friday. “There’s an oversaturation of big superhero movies and they are becoming just more of the same. I think this summer is going to be bad for big studios whose movies pile on top of each other. The audience is going to get sick of it.”
International buyers are more than willing to follow Charlize Theron to Dark Places, as Exclusive Media racked up pre-sales deals across Europe and Asia for the feature film adaptation of Gillian Flynn‘s best-selling novel about a brutal crime and its impact a quarter of a century later. Exclusive, which is producing and co-financing Dark Places, closed all-rights deals for the title at AFM for France (Mars), Canada (Remstar), Japan (CCC), Scandinavia (Svensk), Switzerland (Ascot Elite) and Russia (West) among many others. Dark Places has also all but sold out across Latin America, Eastern Europe and South-East Asia.
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