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Writers’ strike slows down deals in rainy Cannes


The unusually cold and rainy weather in Cannes this year didn’t put a damper on things, but the writers’ strike loomed like a thundercloud, threatening a deluge.

There were plenty of deals, big and small, at the Cannes Marché du Film, which attracted more than 13,500 attendees this year, an all-time record that surpassed pre-pandemic numbers. As the market came to an end, Netflix closed an eight-figure deal for North America may december, the Todd Haynes-directed dramedy starring Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman. The pickup, reportedly worth $11 million, is a non-global, domestic-only deal, a setup that used to be rare but could become more common as streamers shift their focus on individual territories and local audiences. sharpen. CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group handle domestic rights for may decemberwith Rocket Science brokering international deals.

Sony made a big deal for it Paddington in Peru, the third film in the South American stuffed bear family franchise, signs an agreement with StudioCanal to take over North America and most of the world, excluding Russia, China and Japan. Studiocanal, which is fully financing and producing the film with Heyday Films, will be released Paddington3 in the UK, France, Germany, Benelux, Australia/New Zealand and Poland. The first two Paddington films have been a huge commercial and critical success for Studiocanal, earning over $500 million at the worldwide box office. The deal was a coup for Sony, which snatched the rights from Warner Bros., which had acquired the past two films.

The studio’s special division, Sony Pictures Classics, acquired rights in North America, as well as Latin America, Scandinavia, South Korea and several other territories, for the animated film They shot the pianist from Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, the couple behind the Oscar nominee Chico & Rita. Voiced by Jeff Goldblum, the Bossa Nova-themed film follows a New York music journalist who searches for the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of young Brazilian piano virtuoso Tenorio Jr. SPC is positioning the film for a seasonal release.

The specialty market in the US has struggled recently, with few indie films released domestically, the mega-success of Everything Everywhere Everything at once be a notable exception. But hope springs eternal, and Neon was active in Cannes and acquired US rights to the courtroom thriller Anatomy of a fall, written and directed by French filmmaker Justine Triet. Neon also signed a deal with Elle Driver for North American rights Robot dreamsthe spanish animation film of Blancanieves director Pablo Berger, who had a special screening at the party on May 20. Based on the Sara Varon graphic novel, the film is set in 1980s New York and follows a Manhattan dog named DOG who is tired of being alone and decides to have a robotic companion of his own named ROBOT.

Music Box Films has acquired the US rights to Barbara Kulcsar’s Swiss tragicomedy Gold years with German sales organization Beta Cinema, in a deal that will see Music Box release the film in the United States later this year. Briarcliff Entertainment acquired the US rights to it Thieves’ Den 2: Panterathe sequel to Gerard Butler from 2018 action thriller, from eOne with plans to debut it in theaters in Q4 2024.

Several large packages – including Ric Roman Waugh’s Cliff hanger sequel starring Sylvester Stallone, which Rocket Science and CAA Media Finance are selling, and Black Bear International’s new, as-yet-untitled Guy Ritchie movie starring Henry Cavill, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Eiza González — created major heat, including bidding wars in some territories, and are expected to sell out worldwide. “There were a lot of good projects this time, decent commercial films,” Dirk Schweizer of Germany’s Splendid Films noted. “But the offer prices are still bizarrely high. We will see where the deals eventually end up.”

Don’t mention the strike.

News that Aziz Ansari’s Good luck, a hot title in the Cannes market sold by Lionsgate, has closed indefinitely after shooting in LA’s Koreatown was disrupted by Writers Guild of America strikes that sent a shiver through the Marché. Protesters forced a halt to the Keanu Reeves-Seth Rogen movie on May 18, and it’s uncertain when the comedy could resume shooting. Buyers are increasingly concerned that the projects they bid on may be equally vulnerable.

More worrying is the threat of a multi-union strike. Less than a week before the opening of the Cannes market, on May 10, the Directors Guild of America began contract talks and SAG-AFTRA’s national council voted to recommend that members approve a strike ahead of its own negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, who negotiate on behalf of studios.

News that director Pawel Pawlikowski’s The island, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara, which shuts down on the eve of production, has the indie industry worried. The film, backed by FilmNation, WME Independent, Vision Distribution and Wildside, was apparently unable to establish a close bond, with bond companies unwilling to risk a possible SAG-AFTRA strike shutting down production. stop.

“It’s not a question of money, as we only pay when the film is delivered,” notes a European distributor. “But when everything shuts down, eventually we won’t have any movies.”

A version of this story appears in the May 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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