Busy Cannes for German film buyers

Host of mainstream, arthouse titles acquired

COLOGNE, Germany -- German films may have been shut out of Cannes Competition this year (although Palme d'Or winner "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" was a German co-pro) but German buyers were as busy as ever.

With German boxoffice riding high (BO in the territory was 25% up to $1.4 billion last year), German distribs big and small placed bets on festival pick-ups and Marche du Film pre-buys.

Kinowelt dug deep for several mainstream genre titles, nabbing German rights for John Singleton's upcoming thriller "Abduction" starring Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins as well as two upcoming features from Joel Silver's Dark Castle label: Todd Lincoln's paranormal thriller "The Apparition" starring Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan and the serial killer drama "The Factory" featuring John Cusack and Jennifer Carpenter.

Kinowelt pre-bought the still-untitled love story starring Christian Bale, Javier Bardem and Rachel McAdams that Terrence Malick is set to shoot after finishing "The Tree of Life." The German distributor also took rights to two Cannes Competition titles from its French parent StudioCanal: Bertrand Tavernier's "The Princess of Montpensier" and Rachid Bouchareb's "Outside the Law."

Other StudioCanal titles bowing in Germany through Kinowelt include kidnapping drama "Special Forces" starring Diane Kruger and Djimon Hounsou and the Eric Valette-helmed thriller "Prey" featuring French stars Albert Dupontel and Andre Dussollier.

The high-profile lineup is a clear signal Kinowelt is looking to take on Constantin and Concorde for the title of top indie in the German market.

But Concorde also whipped out its Cannes checkbook this year, picking up several big titles, including Sci-Fi romance "Passengers" starring Keanu Reeves; Lasse Hallstrom's "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt; Katherine Heigl romcom "One for the Money" and actioner "Safe" starring Jason Statham.

Universum, the distribution arm of media giant Bertelsmann, balanced mainstream and art house with its two pick-ups, the high concept action thriller "Medallion" featuring Clive Owen and "In a Better World," a Danish melodrama from Susanne Bier ("Things We Lost in the Fire").

Other Festival titles heading to Germany include Mike Leigh's Competition entry "Another Year," which Prokino snatched; Director's Fortnight opener "See Beyond" and Xavier Dolan's Un Certain Regard comedy "Heartbeats," both of which went to Kool Film; and Mexican cannibal drama "We Are What We Are," from director Jorge Michel Grau, which premiered in Director's Fortnight and which Alamode Film picked up.