The Cannes weather, at least, was something to be reckoned with.
Clear blue skies and a blazing sun were the backdrop for the small contingent of cinema executives who shared the Croisette with crowds of French tourists during this year’s very different Cannes Film Festival, which runs through July 17.
But actual business has been slow as clouds of uncertainty – over the progression of the coronavirus pandemic, over when and how the physical theater industry will rebound, over the impact of streaming on windowing models and output – cloud the entrenched optimism of the international film industry.
Deals were being made, although the majority of the actual business happened in the pre-screening market which was held just before the festival proper.
Sony Pictures Classics has obtained the rights in the United States, China and several international territories for The son, Florian Zeller’s sequel to his Oscar-winning drama The father. SPC will also be hosting the film, with Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern and Vanessa Kirby, in India, Eastern Europe and Turkey.
STX outbid rivals, including several streamers, for global rights to Gerard Butler’s action sequel Greenland: Migration, setting up $ 25 million for national rights and $ 50 million for international for the follow-up to the surprise success of Ric Roman Waugh in 2020 as part of a deal with European producer-seller Anton and CAA Media Finance.
On the sales side, STX had a hot title with the Vin Diesel-F. Gary Gray’s action comedy Muscular, which has made several pre-sales, including a seven-figure deal with German mini-major Leonine. The project, which is due to be shot later this year, will see Fast and furious The Diesel star plays a fugitive who must erase his name by running away with a man everyone wants dead. STX product and finance Muscular and will distribute the film directly in the US, UK and India.
“The range of films on offer was good and diverse, especially in terms of mid-budget arthouse films. In addition, a limited number of large commercial productions continue to come from the market, ”explains Fred Kogel, Leonine’s boss. “With Muscular, we were able to secure the most powerful trading titles available. We hope to have more commercial productions in the fall of this year.
Other global deals include MGM’s acquisition of Zoe Kravitz’s debut film Pussy island, with Naomi Ackie and Channing Tatum, and the Miramax Global Rights Agreement for Leftovers, the film directed by Alexander Payne which reunites him with Next to starring Paul Giamatti. MGM also landed the North American rights to the competition film at Cannes directed by Sean Penn. Flag day.
On the specialty side, Playtime has reached an agreement for most of the world for François Ozon Everything went well, with the United States and the United Kingdom being two of the only large unsold territories. Sophie Marceau stars as a daughter tasked with helping her ailing father end his life in the well-received drama from the veteran French director. And Films Boutique has sold the competition title of Ildiko Enyedi My wife’s story, with Léa Seydoux and Dutch actor Gijs Naber, in several international territories, including Japan, Spain and Poland.
While most of these bigger titles are set to hit theaters – MGM has confirmed Flag day will hit theaters through its joint venture United Artists Releasing later this year – the state of the distribution industry, shaken by the coronavirus pandemic, is still very fluid.
Cinemas in Europe, which have reopened slowly in recent weeks, are posting strong numbers, although capacity restrictions in most territories have capped the box office.
“The situation is not good at the moment but it will improve,” Martin Moszkowicz of German production and distribution center Constantin Film told an industry panel in Cannes on Thursday. Moszkowicz noted that the first admission figures in Europe were “very encouraging”, but added that exhibitors had to adjust to the new normal. “The virus is not going to go away. We’ll have to find a way to live with it.
The performance of Black Widow will be the last test of the robustness of this recent box office rebound. The Disney / Marvel superhero film launched on Wednesday in 11 international markets, totaling $ 4.9 million in ticket sales with the best performing in the UK ($ 1.7 million) and France (1 , $ 6 million).
The Scarlett Johansson star will be released this weekend in 46 overseas territories as well as nationally and is expected to reach nearly $ 50 million at the international box office and between $ 75 million and $ 85 million in North America. . Yes Black Widow hit that, it would exceed that of Universal Fast Furious after F9, which reached $ 70 million in its first weekend, as the number one outing since the pandemic. Black Widow takes place day and date in theaters and for $ 30 rentals on Disney Plus, so the arc will also be a test of the impact of collapsing release windows on box office performance.
“We’re all hoping for a rebound, but the big, overall question for the industry is obviously where will it bounce back? Says Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films. The all-platform specialist has three titles in Cannes competition on its next list, after taking over the French-speaking drama by Jacques Audiard Paris, 13th arrondissement at the European Film Market in March and landed Mia Hansen-Løve’s first English-language film Bergman Island and the drama of lesbian nuns by Paul Verhoeven Benedetta before the festival.
“No one knows at this time what exactly is going to happen with the different streamers, what each is going to do with the windows and how the specialty market will form in the future,” said David Linde, CEO of Participant, a producer. on Tom McCarthy Matt Damon-starrer Still water, which was presented Thursday to a standing ovation of a few minutes in Cannes.
“But because there is less to do, I’ve noticed that people are talking more about films, directors and films,” says Linde. “If Cannes this year allows us to re-emphasize the quality of the film (rather than) the size of the case, then [Cannes festival director] Thierry Frémaux will have really done something here.