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A version of this story first appeared in the June 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
You lose some, you win some. Tom Ford‘s Nocturnal Animals lost producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov, said to be due to scheduling conflicts, but landed a $20 million worldwide distribution pact with Focus and Universal in one of Cannes’ biggest deals. (The priciest was China’s Fundamental Films investing $50 million in Luc Besson‘s Valerian.)
“Tom Ford exemplifies the kind of filmmaker we want to be in business with,” says Focus CEO Peter Schlessel, who was wowed by Ford’s dramatic presentation to buyers. “His vision and sense of story combined with what is sure to be a stunningly shot film made this an acquisition we aggressively pursued.”
Like Nocturnal, the whole market seemed to follow a yin-and-yang narrative, with U.S. buyers privately saying product was weaker this year yet still gobbling up some 31 finished films and prebuy titles at press time.
Lionsgate struck early and often, taking the Colin Firth starrer Genius for $4 million and teaming with Roadside to pick up Matthew McConaughey starrer The Sea of Trees (said to be a straight distribution deal with very aggressive terms similar to the one struck for 2012 Cannes competition title Mud, which also stars McConaughey). The studio also teamed with Roadside and Saban Films to acquire the Tom Hanks drama A Hologram for the King.
Upstart distributor Alchemy nabbed two of the festival’s buzziest pics: the Colin Farrell starrer The Lobster and Gaspar Noe‘s porn film Love — which will be released in 3D in 25 markets — plus Mia Madre.
“Alchemy has worked to aggressively expand our ability to accommodate high-caliber projects of all sizes,” says Alchemy executive vp marketing Brooke Ford.
Cohen Media Group beat out larger competition for U.S. rights to opening night’s Standing Tall (director Emmanuelle Bercot and breakout star Rod Paradot were hot commodities among Hollywood agencies, as was Son of Saul helmer Laszlo Nemes). Cohen also took Directors’ Fortnight selection Mustang. And eOne took The Wannabe, starring newly minted Oscar winner Patricia Arquette.
On the foreign side, sales agents scrambled to amend prices to offset the euro’s weakness against the dollar and the volatile Russian ruble yet still sold out entire slates. Sierra/Affinity struck a multiterritory pact with Universal Pictures International for Charlize Theron spy thriller The Coldest City. Similarly, the Solution Entertainment Group sold out for the world on the Miles Teller starrer Bleed for This about Rhode Island boxing champ Vinny Pazienza (Open Road plunked down $4 million for U.S. rights after seeing 12 minutes of footage of the film, which, like The Wannabe, is executive produced by Martin Scorsese).
“I expected to have a lot of people saying, ‘Oh the exchange rate.’ But I didn’t have that,” says Lisa Wilson, co-founder and partner of The Solution. “Obviously, there’s the Russian situation, but we adjusted our estimates for that before coming in.”
Bill Block‘s Block Entertainment sold out most major territories on its R-rated comedy Bad Moms in its Cannes debut. And IM Global had no trouble selling out worldwide on the Alicia Vikander–Tom Hanks pairing The Circle. But before the festival wrapped, Vikander exited the project, leaving IM Global scrambling for a new lead. Like Isaac Newton‘s third law, for every action at Cannes 2015, there seemed to be an equal and opposite reaction.
A complete list of Cannes sales follows:
Cannes: Kino Lorber Takes Award-Winning ‘The Measure of a Man’
Cannes: ‘Louder Than Bombs,’ Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Goes to The Orchard
Cannes: Cohen Group Nabs U.S. Rights to Festival Opener ‘Standing Tall’
Cannes: Cohen Group Steers ‘Mustang’ to North America
Cannes: Alchemy Takes ‘The Lobster’ For U.S.
Cannes: Benicio Del Toro’s ‘A Perfect Day’ Sells to IFC Films in U.S.
Cannes: Saban Films Buys John Travolta’s ‘I Am Wrath’ for North America (Exclusive)
Cannes: Uncork’d Nabs U.S. Rights for ‘Chlorine’
Cannes: Katie Holmes Film ‘Touched With Fire’ Goes to Roadside
Cannes: Idris Elba Drama ‘Second Coming’ Lands U.S. Home at Film Movement (Exclusive)
Cannes: eOne Nabs North American Rights to Patricia Arquette’s ‘The Wannabe’ (Exclusive)
Cannes: Magnolia Takes Arnaud Desplechin’s ‘My Golden Days’ for U.S.
Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Acquiring Dan Rather Scandal Movie ‘Truth’ (Exclusive)
Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Takes Holocaust Drama ‘Son of Saul’
Cannes: Miles Teller’s ‘Bleed for This’ Sells to Open Road in U.S.
Cannes: Weinstein Co. Nabs ‘Three Generations’
Cannes: Lionsgate, Roadside, Saban Take ‘Hologram for the King’
Cannes: Lionsgate in Final Negotiations to Pick Up ‘By Way of Helena’
Cannes: Alchemy Closes Deal for Sex-Fueled Film ‘Love’ (Exclusive)
Cannes: U.S. Rights to ‘A Royal Night Out’ Nabbed by Atlas Distribution
Cannes: Tom Ford’s ‘Nocturnal Animals’ Sells Worldwide to Universal, Focus
Cannes: Bryan Cranston’s ‘The Infiltrator’ Lands U.S. Home at Broad Green
Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Takes ‘Our Little Sister’ for North America
Cannes: TWC Lands U.S. Rights to Edgar Ramirez Boxing Film ‘Hands of Stone’
Cannes: Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘Youth’ Picked Up by Fox Searchlight
Cannes: The Orchard Picks Up Ross Partridge’s ‘Lamb’
Cannes: Focus Nabs Video Game Movie ‘Ratchet & Clank’ for U.S. (Exclusive)
Cannes: Matthew McConaughey’s ‘Sea of Trees’ Sells to Roadside, Lionsgate in U.S.
Cannes: Lionsgate Nabs U.S. Rights to ‘Genius’ With Colin Firth
Cannes: Competition Entry ‘The Assassin’ Nabbed by Well Go for North America
Cannes: Alchemy Takes U.S. Distribution Rights to Nanni Moretti’s Family Drama ‘Mia Madre’
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