Pre-Cannes screenings: hot tickets and increasingly complex offers

The Vin Diesel vehicle “Muscle”, “The Holdovers” by Alexander Payne and “Pussy Island” directed by Zoe Kravitz proved to be the first to stand out during the pre-Cannes virtual screenings which the presale market says a lot about. ever greater complexity of the international film industry.

Budgeted at $ 60 million, which would make it the Screenings’ biggest project, “Muscle” made waves when Leonine paid a high seven-figure presale figure for Germany.

In an off-the-shelf move, Miramax announced Monday that it had secured the global rights to “The Holdovers,” reuniting Payne with “Sideways” star Paul Giamatti.

In previous banner deals, reinvigorated under Michael de Luca, MGM landed the worldwide rights to “Pussy Island” and North America in Sean Penn’s “Flag Day”, the biggest film in the Cannes competition.

The “Greenland: Migration” sold by Anton / CAA Media Finance has generated a lot of excitement, cited by overseas distributors as the genre of straight-arrow action thriller that most traditional international buyers have been looking for.

Led by Doug Liman’s “Everest”, sold by HanWay, a bunch of other greats – Voltage Pictures’ Renny Harlin action thriller “Refuge” and Dakota Johnson-Sean Penn’s photo “Daddio” – of Endeavor Content – hit the Cannes Screenings Presale Market.

However, the Pre-Cannes Screenings ended on Friday, with meetings taken between sales agents and distributors, and the latter submitting offers.

Few, if any, big hot tickets will hit the market at the Cannes Film Festival. Five days after the official market close, however, few other major sales have been announced on the headlines of the Pre-Cannes Sessions.

This may in part reflect the content of the titles offered. Constantine had a list of five or six targets during pre-cane screenings, compared to 10 or 12 in a normal Cannes Film Festival presale, said Martin Mozkowicz of Constantine. Variety.

“For the types of films that my company is looking for that cater to multiplexes rather than urban theater films, there weren’t a lot of commercial headlines, but I found the prices to be high enough for them. these films ”, explains María Grazia Vairo to Italy Eagle Images.

This market was much more author-driven, ”she added, citing projects from Todd Solondz (“ Love Child, ”sold by Maddriver Intl.), Todd Haynes (Rocket Science’s“ May December ”), Payne, Garth Davis (sci-fi thriller “Foe”, from CAA / FilmNation) and Rebecca Miller (romantic thriller “She Came to Me”, from Protagonist Pictures).

This wide range of titles made catnip the pre-cane Screening for distributors working in a slightly lower budget bracket, such as the large Spanish company A Contracorriente Films, which buys a wide range of films, from titles to author of name in the great French comedies.

“Virtually all of the sales agents we have traditionally worked with had interesting titles, films with commercial appeal, large cast, proven directors and interesting budgets,” A Contracorriente’s Adolfo Blanco said, citing “comedies for adults and YA, period pieces and literary adaptations.

“It’s like the pandemic has given people more time for some really mature projects,” Blanco added, claiming to have bought three titles.

As cinemas reopen or reach full capacity in the world, “people are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, starting to buy and absolutely commit, booking as many meetings as possible,” said Voros from Highland Film Group, citing as her two biggest selling propositions “Bandit”, starring Josh Duhamel and Mel Gibson, and The Good Neighbor, directed by Stephan Rick, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Luke Kleintan.

The Highland Film Group manages more and not less star-focused action and horror thrillers and films, said Sébastien Aussal, Head of Marketing and Communications at HFG.

Yet to date at least, sales announcements on the hottest tickets of the Pre-Cannes Screenings have been rare.

Some sales agents might withhold news of the transactions until they can announce that they have sold much of the world. Distributors also have a large portion of 2022 release inventories stored from pre-COVID-19 and recent purchases.

Virtual marketplaces also slow down transactions with sales companies that do not fully capture the attention of buyers and no physical deadline for negotiations.

More importantly, the process of selling a film project seems to have become much more complex.

As projects are offered not only to international distributors but to global studio streamers, the process of selling a title has become much more complex, leaving the major headline sales agents with the arduous task this week of sorting out. a myriad of often contradictory offers.

“Normally, in the past, if you bid the asking price and get the approval from the producer, you get the movie,” says Vairo.

No more. Now, in sales companies, “everyone is trying to get the best deal and wait to see if they can do big multi-jurisdictional or global projects.”

Vairo said she hopes sales will finally be sealed by the end of this week. Some transactions may take longer.

The Cannes Film Festival could therefore frame a big irony. Most of the big American and British sales companies that have probably competed for the Pre-Cannes Screenings will not be present at Cannes.

From this week, most of the new business is focused on sales companies in Europe, led by France, bringing to market new projects targeting the clientele of art house distributors who will be present and working in Cannes.

But the industry mood at the Cannes Film Festival could be further boosted by big sales announcements on some of the hottest titles during pre-Cannes screenings. However, most of the people who have entered into such deals will either be absent or use the festival to catch up with friends and clients they haven’t seen in person for 18 months.

About Monty S. Maynard

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