EXCLUSIVE: Universal has beaten out multiple bidders to take U.S. rights on 355, the Simon Kinberg-directed global spy thriller franchise that will star Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing and Lupita Nyong’o. Deal is north of $20 million, with the promise of a wide release. Now, other deals for international territories will follow that will make this one of the biggest Cannes market packages in memory. The film will be budgeted at around $75 million sources said.
This ought to wake up a fairly sleepy market because what the sellers did here deliberately is make it possible for territorial distributors to have a shot at a star-studded franchise, the kind that usually doesn’t make it out of the grasp of a major studio.
Numerous bidders including Amazon Studios and Global Road chased domestic rights on the film with comparable bids around $20M, hoping to be part of a tapestry of deals with international distributors who attended a presentation at the Cannes Majestic that featured Kinberg and the radiant actresses who’ll play secret agents in a grounded thriller they hope will birth a franchise. These hopes were amped when SND took French distribution rights off the table in a generous deal. It has been obvious since Deadline revealed the project last week that it would be the splashiest deal here on the Croisette, and it didn’t disappoint.