Virtual Cannes Deals Memo: Day 5

ARKANSAS Still 1 - Lionsgate Publicity_H 2020
Courtesy of Lionsgate

'Reactor,' starring Bruce Willis, goes to Saban Films for North America and the U.K.; Nick Jonas/Laurence Fishburne and Nicolas Cage thrillers 'The Blacksmith' and 'Willy's Wonderland' sell internationally.

Dealmakers have given the first-ever Virtual Cannes Market high marks. With the online-only market heading to its finish line on day five, deals from majors and smaller indies alike were unveiled.

Saban Films, which has had a busy virtual Cannes market, closed out the week by acquiring North American and U.K. rights to Jared Cohn's Reactor, starring Bruce Willis as the leader of a gang of mercenaries holding a nuclear power plant hostage. Cohn wrote the script with Cam Cannon (USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage) and Stephen Cyrus Sepher (Heist).

AGC Studios' action thriller The Blacksmith, starring Nick Jonas and Laurence Fishburne, will go wide thanks to a raft of deals. The story of a go-to weapons expert for the intelligence community (Jonas) who goes looking for his mentor (Fishburne) after his base is infiltrated and his colleagues killed, has sold, among others, to Germany and Switzerland (Constantin), the U.K. (Entertainment Film), France (Metropolitan), Latin America (CDC & CVT), Benelux (The Searchers), the Middle East (Salim Raima), Israel (United King), Turkey (BG Films), South Africa (Empire), Eastern Europe (Prorom), Russia (Paradise/MGN), Asian pay TV (HBO), India (Empire Networks), South Korea and Vietnam (Joy'N'Content), Indonesia (PT Prima), Taiwan (MovieCloud) and the Philippines (Pioneer).

Nicolas Cage-fronted thriller Willy's Wonderland, about an out-of-towner who is forced to clean a family entertainment center in exchange for having his car serviced, also sold to key international territories. The Kevin Lewis-directed movie sold to the U.K. (Signature Entertainment), Germany (Splendid), Latin America (CDC), Canada (VVS), Australia (Madman), Italy (Eagle Pictures), Scandinavia (SF Studios), the Middle East (Salim Ramia), Hong Kong (Pegasus) and others.  

Meanwhile, Lionsgate doubled down on Arkansas, the crime thriller starring Liam Hemsworth, Vince Vaughn, Clark Duke, Vivica A. Fox and John Malkovich, which it recently released in the U.S. on demand. The movie focuses on Kyle (Hemsworth) and Swin (Duke), who work for Arkansas-based drug kingpin Frog (Vaughn). By day they pose as park rangers, while by night they work as low-level drug couriers.

The studio has taken the film for Latin America, the U.K., Scandinavia, Germany, Africa, Italy, Spain, India, France, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland and Turkey. The movie also sold to other firms and markets, including to Indonesia (PT Falcon), Portugal (Lusomundo), the Middle East (Phoenicia Pictures), Australia/New Zealand (Roadshow) and Benelux (Three Lines Pictures BV).

Scatena & Rosner Films, which had taken worldwide sales rights for Night Walk, starring Sean Stone, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Louis Mandylor, Patrick Kilpatrick and French rapper La Fouine, sold the crime drama to Grindstone, a Lionsgate company, which will be distributing it in North America next year. Directed and produced by Aziz Tazi, the movie is about a traveler (Stone) visiting the Middle East, where his girlfriend lives. After a tragic incident leading to her death, he is wrongfully imprisoned by corrupt police. Under the guidance of the prison's top shot-caller (Rourke) and the protection of his Muslim cellmate (La Fouine), "he unravels political corruption at the top seats of government in his quest for justice."

Film Mode Entertainment on Friday unveiled a number of sales on new comedy Stage Mother with Jacki Weaver, Lucy Liu, Adrian Grenier and Mya Taylor. Those include deals for Italy (Eagle Pictures), Japan (Regents), Taiwan (Deepjov), the Middle East (Eagle Films), South Africa (African Entertainment Distributors) and Australia/New Zealand (Madman). The film had sold to Momentum in the U.S. and Altitude in the U.K. closer to the start of the market. 

Documentaries also sold in the virtual Cannes market, with Wood Entertainment late in the week announcing deals for Quentin Tarantino- and Tony Hawk-focused films. Telecine bought QT8: The First Eight, a deep-dive into the director's career, for Brazil. "Longtime staple Tarantino collaborators speak to the essence of his passion and the success of his career," including Michael Madsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jamie Foxx, Eli Roth, Zoë Bell and Diane Kruger, according to a description of the doc. 

Meanwhile, Pretending I'm a Superman – The Tony Hawk Video Game Story, about the skaters and developers who came together to create the best-selling video game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, sold to Australia (Garage Entertainment) and France (Program Store). Directed by Ludvig Gür and produced by Ralph D'Amato (Tony Hawk Pro Skater series), the doc features never-before-seen footage and interviews with the legendary skater and others.