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COLOGNE, Germany – The German theatrical market remains one of the most competitive worldwide, judging by the scramble for films at Cannes’ Marche du Film this year. German distributors, large and small, snatched up a raft of mainstream and art house titles.
Rising star Senator, which has seen its fortunes brighten with the phenomenal success of French comedy Intouchables (German box office to date: $75 million plus), returned from Cannes with a full slate, including French comedies Happiness Never Comes Alone starring Sophie Marceau and F.B.I. with Intouchables star Omar Sy; the thriller Devil’s Knot directed by Atom Egoyan and starring Colin Firth and Resse Witherspoon; and the actioner Tracers featuring Twilight star Taylor Lautner as a bicycle courier on the run from the mafia. Senator also secured German rights to Australian musical The Sapphires, which TWC will release stateside.
Ascot Elite, the Swiss-based company which has established a growing theatrical and home entertainment business in the German market, picked up seven new films in Cannes, among them Sierra/Affinity’s war epic Emperor directed by Peter Webber and starring Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones; the Robert Pattinson-starrer Mission: Blacklist from Embankment Films; Siberian Education, an English-language drama from Italian director Gabriele Salvatores (I’m Not Scared); HanWay Films’ foot fetishist comedy The Big Shoe from Secretary director Steven Shainberg; director Ben Not‘s surfer film Drift featuring Sam Worthington, which TF1 International is selling worldwide; Film Factory’s thriller The 7th Floor from Spanish director Patxi Amezcua and the archeological documentary Diontasia, which Werner Herzog will narrate and which Ascot acquired from France’s Visit Films.
Another big German buyer at Cannes this year was Wild Bunch, which nabbed four Competition titles: Rust & Bone, Killing Them Softly, The Hunt and Beyond the Hills for the German market. Wild Bunch also nabbed Hunger Games spoof The Starving Games from sales outfit K5, the spy thriller November Man featuring Pierce Brosnan and Dominic Cooper and action thriller The Coup with Owen Wilson. Together with art house specialist Alamode Film, Wild Bunch jointly acquired Haute Cuisine, a biopic from director Christian Vincent about the cook of former French President Francois Mitterand.
On its own, Alamode also nabbed the omnibus title 7 Days In Havana, which premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar; the Chinese drama Mystery, also an Un Certain Regard entry, from director Lou Ye; French comedy Bowling and the animated feature Zarafa, which earned more than $11 million on its release in France earlier this year.
Other notable German buyers included SquareOne, which nabbed German and Austrian rights to Michelle Monaghan-starrer Still of Night from Exclusive; the biopic Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman from Inferno and the romantic caper Love Punch starring Pierce Brosnan and Emmy Thompson from SND. And Falcom, which picked up Marlon Wayans’ Paranormal Activity parody, Untitled Found Footage Comedy, from IM Global as well as nature documentary The Penguin King 3D from Kaleidoscope.
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