The Exchange will be selling international rights to The Houses October Built at Cannes next week. The found-footage horror pic from New Regency and producer Steven Schneider (the Paranormal Activity and Insidious films) is about the Halloween haunted house phenomenon that draws more than 30 million visitors every year. It sheds light on a dark world of haunting that lurks beneath the surface of spooky fun. Zack Andrews and Bobby directed and produced the film, which has wrapped production. WME Global and Preferred Content are handling U.S. sales for the title.
With a script by Space Cowboys’ Howard Klausner, the Mark Joseph and Ralph Winter-produced biopic Reagan will start going out to international buyers in Cannes next week. Manifest Film Sales, a division of UK-based Intandem Films, has acquired world rights outside the U.S. on the story of Ronald Reagan’s ascent from hometown hero to Hollywood star and to the Oval Office. The unconventional biopic is told through the eyes of Viktor Petrovich, a composite character of KGB agents who closely followed Reagan from his days in Hollywood. In part, it will look at Reagan’s time at SAG and his relationships with other world leaders. The script is based on two books by Conservative author Paul Kengor, God And Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life, and The Crusader: Ronald Reagan And The Fall Of Communism — although I’m told the film is strictly apolitical. Casting is in progress and a U.S. distribution deal is to be announced shortly.
Fortissimo Films is partnering with Wanda Media to jointly represent The Great Hypnotist, the Chinese thriller directed by Leste Chen that’s currently near the top of the local charts with $25M in its first week. The mystery thriller about the complicated relationship between a doctor and his patient stars Xu Zheng (Lost In Thailand) and Karen Mok (Shaolin Soccer). Producers are Tina Shi and James Li. Exec producers are Xu Zheng and Gillian Zhao. Fortissimo is teamed with Wanda outside Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Its slate also includes Chinese titles Black Coal, Thin Ice and The Midnight After, as well as Terence Davies’ Sunset Song, John Cameron Mitchell’s How To Talk To Girls At Parties and Roger Goldby’s The Time Of Their Lives starring Joan Collins and Pauline Collins.
France’s FilmsDistribution has acquired world sales rights to Carlos Vermut’s Spanish film Magical Girl. Newcomer Lucia Pollan plays a sick child who dreams of having the same dress as her TV heroine. When her father (Luis Bermejo) tries to fulfill her wish, he crosses paths with an attractive young woman with a mental disorder (The Skin I Live In’s Barbara Lennie) and a retired teacher with a troubled past (veteran José Sacristán), and becomes trapped in a vicious circle of blackmail. Producer is Pedro Hernández Santos of AquíyAllíFilms. FilmsDistribution’s titles across the Cannes sections this year include Bird People with Josh Charles in Un Certain Regard and Israeli film Gett in Directors’ Fortnight. It’s previously handled Oscar nominees like War Witch, Monsieur Lazhar and The Missing Picture. Co-founder Nicolas Brigaud-Robert predicts Magical Girl “will be one of the best movies to come out of Spain this year.”
Voltage Pictures has acquired coming-of-age dance film Breaking Through, written, produced and directed by Step Up: All In and Into The Storm writer John Swetnam. Shooting is set for August on the move about a 21-year-old small town girl with dreams of stardom and celebrity. After her hip-hop dance videos are noticed online by a Hollywood talent scout, she becomes an overnight sensation. As her popularity explodes, she risks losing herself and everything she cares about, all for the sake of music and fame. Swetnam will produce through his Mad Horse Films. BB Films Productions’ Uri Singer and Fabio Golombek will produce alongside Mike Jackson of Get Lifted Film Co. and the Perimeter Group’s Luis Fragali. John Legend is on board to exec produce alongside his Get Lifted partner Ty Stiklorius.
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