EXCLUSIVE: Announced deal-making out of the virtual AFM has been deafeningly quiet so far, but Cornerstone Films was among sellers to clock up strong pre-sales, we can reveal.
We’ve heard from buyers that two of Cornerstone’s light-hearted Brit pics were among their favourites: Emma Thompson sex therapy comedy Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, and Helena Bonham Carter-Pierce Brosnan rom-com Not Bloody Likely, exploring the story behind the 1914 West End production of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. Buyers flocked to the former despite the script not being available yet.
Not Bloody Likely has pre-sold to Studiocanal for UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand; Dea Planeta for Spain; FilmCoopi for Switzerland; and Terry Steiner International for World Airlines.
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Good Luck To You, Leo Grande has been picked up by Wild Bunch for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and France; Scanbox for Scandinavia; Entertainment BV for Benelux; Forum Films for Israel and Eastern Europe; Front Row for Middle East; Tanweer for Greece; Nos Lusomundo for Portugal; FilmFinity for South Africa and Terry Steiner International for World Airlines.
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As we revealed earlier this month, Sophie Hyde (Animals) has been set to direct Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, which will follow Nancy Stokes (Thompson), a 55 year-old widow yearning for adventure, human connection, and some “good sex.” In her quest for adventure, she hires the services of Leo Grande, a sex worker (or ‘sex therapist’ as he prefers it) in his early twenties for a night of bliss.
The film is based on the original screenplay by British comedy writer Katy Brand (Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show) and is slated to go into production in London at the beginning of next year.
In Not Bloody Likely, Brosnan will portray writer Shaw soon after he has written his masterpiece Pygmalion (which would later be adapted into the Oscar-winning musical My Fair Lady). Shaw is determined for the great Mrs. Pat Campbell (Bonham Carter) to play the role of Eliza Doolittle, but the film questions the extent to which his casting decision is based on a desire to rekindle his former flame for the actress. Joel Hopkins (Hampstead) has written and is directing the film, which is slated to shoot in the UK in spring 2021.
“It has been exciting for us to see signs that the independent market remains alive and well,” Cornerstone Co-President Alison Thompson told us. “Independent buyers have really stepped up to the plate. They are preparing for that period when people do come back to cinemas next year. We have seen an opportunity in the market for non-U.S., English-language independent movies with talent-attached to them and these are films that will work across windows.”
“In trying times, we found that buyers responded well to the tone of these two films,” added Cornerstone Co-President Mark Gooder. “We also found that buyers reached up a little higher on price point compared to recent markets as their need for content is growing.”
Aside from Cornerstone and AGC’s recently announced deals for Universe’s Most Wanted, we’re aware that other significant AFM virtual market pacts are percolating but are taking longer than usual to square away amid a challenging and fast-changing landscape.
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