Cannes: KKR-Backed German Outfit Buys Roland Emmerich's 'Moonfall' in 8-Figure Deal

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Roland Emmerich

The new group, formed by the acquisition and merger of indie distributors TMG and Universum, inked the biggest deal in this year's Cannes market, acquiring Emmerich's sci-fi disaster movie for Germany and Switzerland.

Only a couple of days in, and the Cannes market is heating up.

Just hours after presenting Roland Emmerich's new sci-fi epic Moonfall to international buyers on Wednesday, Stuart Ford's AGC Studios and CAA Media Finance inked an eight-figure deal for the film, pre-selling rights to Germany and Switzerland to the new distribution and production group backed by New York private equity giant KKR.

The deal, the biggest of the Cannes market so far, is with the still-unnamed conglomerate formed earlier this year when KKR acquired German indie distributors Tele Munchen Group (TMG) and Universum. By outbidding German competitors for Emmerich's $150 million film, Fred Kogel, the German media veteran who heads up the new group, has made a clear statement of intent.

The company has said it wants to become one of Germany's top independent distributors and producers. In addition to TMG and Universum, KKR has also snatched up a pair of German production companies, including Wiedemann & Berg, producer of the Oscar-winning film The Lives of Others and recent Oscar nominee Never Look Away.

Moonfall, which Emmerich's Centropolis Entertainment will produce, imagines a disaster in which a mysterious force knocks the moon from its orbit, sending it on a collision course towards Earth. With little time to spare, a ragtag team launches a last-ditch mission to the moon, hoping to solve the mystery and save the planet from annihilation.

AGC Studios and CAA Media Finance, who are jointly handling world sales, also locked down pre-sales deals in Cannes for Latin America, Spain and Portugal (Sun Distribution Group), Italy (IIF), Benelux (DFW), CIS (Central Partnership), and Eastern Europe (Vertical Entertainment). Further deals closed for the Middle East (Selim Ramia & Co.), Taiwan (Longshang), Thailand (Sahamongkolfilm), Hong Kong (Edko), Indonesia (Prima Cinema), India (PVR Pictures), and airlines (Echo Lake Distribution).

Emmerich co-wrote the script with his 2012 collaborator Harald Kloser and Extinction screenwriter Spencer Cohen. No cast is yet attached.

That a $150 million film can be successfully pre-sold to the independent market — multiple international deals on Moonfall are expected in the coming days — is a good sign for Cannes and the indie industry as a whole. It also re-affirms Emmerich's drawing power. In Cannes last year, AGC sold out worldwide on Emmerich’s upcoming WWII drama Midway.