The 2016 Cannes Film Festival gets underway today with a swarm of jet-lagged but hungry buyers, and plenty of product for them to evaluate, in every genre. What follows is a list of the titles that are on the minds of buyers and sellers. There are a couple of finished films playing in the festival, but most of what will bring the big sales here are titles that either come to show a few minutes of footage, or pre-buys of packages that are assembled but haven’t yet started production. The intel here is raw, and some of these projects had elements that weren’t completely set, and others just didn’t come together in time to be sold here in Cannes, so the list is evolving. Here are some of the most promising:
MOLLY’S GAME – Director: Aaron Sorkin; Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba. eOne and The Mark Gordon Company are financing this at under $30 million and it is shaping up as the early hot project. Chastain plays Molly Bloom, a young skier and former Olympic hopeful becomes a successful entrepreneur, and the target of an FBI investigation, when she establishes a high-stakes, international poker game. WME Global, CAA selling domestic; Sierra/Affinity will handle international territories outside of the U.S.; Entertainment One will distribute the pic in Canada, the UK, Australia/New Zealand, Benelux and Spain.
THE OUTSIDER – Director: Martin Zandvliet; Cast: Jared Leto. In the aftermath of WWII, an imprisoned American soldier is released with the help of his yakuza cellmate. Now free, he sets out to earn their respect and repay his debt while navigating the dangerous criminal underworld. WME Global, Bloom selling.
HOSTILES – Director: Scott Cooper; Cast: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Jesse Plemons. In 1892, a legendary Army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory. WME Global, CAA, Bloom selling.
HIGH WIRE ACT – Director: Brad Anderson from a Tony Gilroy script. Cast: Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike, Dean Norris. In 1980s Beirut, a former U.S. diplomat is called back into service to save a former colleague from the group possibly responsible for his own family’s death. CAA, WME Global, Good Universe selling.
THE KING OF COUNTERFEIT – Director: John McNaughton from a James Sclafani script. Cast: Bill Murray, Josh Hutcherson, Linda Cardellini. Two ambitious young counterfeiters and the crooked superstar lawyer who mentors them learn how to perfectly print counterfeit money, but when a murderous fellow con man feels threatened by their game, getting caught by the cops becomes the least of their worries.
IDEAL HOME – Director: Andrew Fleming. Cast: Paul Rudd, Steve Coogan. A long-term gay couple bicker constantly, but their successful cooking show prevents them from breaking up. However, when their derelict son lands in jail yet again, the grandson shows up at their door with nowhere left to go and the two take him in. Fortitude selling.
THE LIBERTINE – Director: Brett Ratner. Cast: Johnny Depp, Marion Cotillard. Powerful French politician endures house arrest in a luxury NYC apartment while awaiting trial for sexual assault against a hotel maid. Loosely based on the 2011 incident involving French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn. UTA, WME Global, Sierra/Affinity selling (though they are saying they won’t sell the film here).
JACKPOT – Director: Will Gluck. Cast: Mila Kunis, Armie Hammer, Bryan Cranston. Four people win a jackpot of over a million dollars, but when it comes to dividing it up, things get bloody. CAA, UTA, IM Global selling.
REDOUBTABLE – Director: Michel Hazanavicius. Cast: Louis Garrel, Stacy Martin, Berenice Bejo. It is Paris, 1967, where Jean-Luc Godard, the leading filmmaker of his generation, is shooting La Chinoise with the woman he loves, Anne Wiazemsky, 20 years his junior. But the film’s reception unleashes a profound self-examination in Jean-Luc. The events of May ’68 will amplify this process, and the crisis that shakes the filmmaker. Wild Bunch selling.
NERUDA – Director: Pablo Larrain; Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Luis Gnecco, Mercedes Moran. An inspector hunts down Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, who becomes a fugitive in his home country in the late 1940s for joining the Communist Party. Film plays Directors’ Fortnight. CAA, Participant and Funny Balloons are selling.
ESCOBAR – Director: Fernando Leon de Aranoa. Cast: Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz. The true story of the notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, who killed thousands, made billions and struck up an unlikely love affair with his polar opposite, a glamorous television host named Virginia Vallejo. WME Global, Nu Image selling.
FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL – Director: Paul McGuigan. Cast: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters. Drama about Hollywood femme fatale Gloria Grahame and how a family in Liverpool helped nurse her through serious ill-health. WME Global, Barbara Broccoli, IM Global selling.
FLAG DAY – Director: Sean Penn. Cast: Sean Penn, Dylan Penn. Based on the memoir by Jennifer Vogel about her father John Vogel, who robbed banks, burned down buildings, scammed investors, plotted murder, and single-handedly counterfeited more than $20 million, all in pursuit of the American dream. CAA, Insiders selling.
MEAN DREAMS – Director: Nathan Morlando; Cast: Sophie Nélisse, Josh Wiggins, Bill Paxton, Colm Feore. A tense coming-of-age drama about a 15-year-old boy who steals a bag of drug money and runs away with the girl he loves. While her violent and corrupt cop father hunts them down, they embark on a journey that will change their lives forever. UTA selling U.S., Mister Smith Entertainment selling offshore.
OVERDRIVE – Director: Antonio Negret, with Michael Brandt-Derek Haas script. Cast: Scott Eastwood, Ana de Armas. There will be eight minutes of footage to show for this film. Two American brothers are expert car thieves in France who form a team to steal a fleet of classic sports cars from a wealthy French car thief. UTA selling U.S., Kinology overseas. The first screening takes place today, 6 PM at Palais K.
SIX BELOW – Director: Scott Waugh. Cast: Josh Hartnett, Sarah Dumont, Mira Sorvino. A down-on-his-luck snowboarder finds himself stranded on a mountain after a massive snowstorm, forcing him to reevaluate his life and how he got there, as he struggles to survive. Teaser reel will be shown at Cannes. UTA selling North America, Good Universe selling international.
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF JOHN F. DONOVAN – Director: Xavier Dolan. Cast: Kit Harington, Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Taylor Kitsch. A decade after the death of an American TV star he corresponded with as a teenager, a young actor recollects the pen-pal relationship he used to have with his past idol. CAA and Seville International selling.
TAU – Director: Federick D’Alessandro. Cast: Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein. Young street smart grifter (Monroe) is kidnapped and held captive in a fatal experiment. The only thing standing in the way of her freedom is TAU, an advanced artificial intelligence developed by her captor. TAU is armed with a battalion of drones that automate a futuristic smart house. TAU’s potential is only limited by his understanding of the world he exists in, but TAU is ready for more. Pic as a District 9 vibe. WME Global and Bloom selling.
WHITNEY HOUSTON – Director: Kevin Macdonald. Documentary explores the life, genius and tragedy that was Whitney Houston. WME Global, Altitude selling.
THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY – Found-footage horror. In the fall of 1960 two priests, Father Riley and Father Maguire, were sent by the Vatican to investigate the “miracle” of a weeping statue in an Irish home for unwed mothers. They never came back and their remains were never found. Mister Smith selling and keeping it under wraps so far.
20TH CENTURY WOMEN – Director: Mike Mills. Cast: Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Annette Bening. The story of three women who explore love and freedom in Southern California during the late 1970s. UTA is selling domestic and Annapurnua is selling international.
THE BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB – Director: James Cox. Cast: Taron Egerton, Ansel Elgort, Emma Roberts, Kevin Spacey. The rise and fall of two outsiders whose investment pool propelled them into the upper echelons of Los Angeles in the early 1980s. But when their investment club turned sour, they resorted to murders. CAA and Good Universe selling. First screening will be Tuesday at Olympia 8.
THE DINNER – Director: Oren Moverman. Cast: Richard Gere, Rebecca Hall, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan. Paul and Claire Lohman prepare for dinner with Paul’s politician brother Stan and his wife Barbara. Tensions already exist between the brothers, but as the evening progresses, dark secrets emerge about their respective children — a monstrous crime has been committed by the Lohman kids and the two couples are divided about how to handle the situation. CAA, WME Global and Protagonist selling.
DRUNK PARENTS – Director: Fred Wolf. Cast: Alec Baldwin, Will Ferrell, Salma Hayek. Two drunk parents attempt to hide their ever-increasing financial difficulties from their daughter and social circle through elaborate neighborhood schemes. CAA, WME Global, UTA and Fortitude selling.
FINAL PORTRAIT – Director: Stanley Tucci. Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer. Based on James Lord’s acclaimed biography “A Giacometti Portrait,” the script recounts the intimate exchange between two friends; an artistic genius and his unwitting muse, as Giacometti creates one of his final masterpieces. Hanway selling.
JACKIE – Director: Pablo Larrain. Cast: Natalie Portman, Greta Gerwig, Peter Sarsgaard. Portman plays Jackie Kennedy as she fights to define her husband’s legacy in the seven days immediately following his assassination. CAA and Insiders are selling.
JUNGLE – Director: Greg McLean. Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Thomas Kretschmann, Alex Russell. Four travelers meet in Bolivia and set off into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, but what begins as a dream adventure quickly deteriorates into a dangerous nightmare. CAA, UTA and Arclight selling.
THE ODYSSEY – Director: Jérôme Salle. Cast: Lambert Wilson, Audrey Tautou, Pierre Niney. Life story of French ocean-going adventurer and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Wild Bunch selling, with first screening to be held today at 4 PM at Olympia 2.
PLEASE STAND BY – Director: Ben Lewin. Cast: Dakota Fanning, Toni Collette, Alice Eve. An autistic young woman sets out on the road trip of a lifetime to deliver her 500-page Star Trek script to a Hollywood competition. CAA, Embankment selling.
THE QUEEN OF SPAIN – Director: Fernando Trueba. Cast: Penelope Cruz, Mandy Patinkin, Cary Elwes. Famous Spanish movie star Macarena Granada flees the glitz and glamour of 1950s Hollywood to return to her roots in Spain where she has signed on to star in an epic Hollywood film as Queen Isabella I of Spain. Myriad selling.
ROCK’N’ROLL – Director: Guillaume Canet. Cast: Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche, Fanny Ardant. At age 42, actor Guillaume Canet finds himself slipping into a mid-life crisis when the young and beautiful co-star on his new movie tells him he’s fallen down the list of “‘bangable” actors. Pathe selling, with first screening tomorrow at 10 AM at Olympia 5.
THE STORM IN THE STARS – Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour. Cast: Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Bel Powley. A love affair between poet Percy Shelley and 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft resulted in Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein. UTA and Hanway selling.
THE TITAN – Director: Lennart Ruff. Cast: Sam Worthington, Taylor Schilling, Tom Wilkinson. A military family takes part in a groundbreaking experiment of genetic evolution and space exploration. CAA and Voltage selling.
A UNITED KINGDOM – Director: Amma Asante. Cast: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike. True story of Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana, who caused an international stir when he married Ruth Williams, a white woman from London, in the 1940s. The union was opposed by both their families, as well as the British government, the Tribal elders of Botswana and the apartheid government of South Africa.
THE VICEROY’S HOUSE – Director: Gurinder Chadha. Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson. Period drama set in 1948 with Earl Mountbatten overseeing the transition from British India to independence, depicting the lives of the aristocracy and their servants in the Viceroy’s residence. Pathe selling.
WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY – Director: Tommy Wirkola. Cast: Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe. In a world where families are allowed only one child due to overpopulation, a resourceful set of identical septuplets must avoid governmental execution and dangerous infighting while investigating the disappearance of one of their own. CAA and SND selling.
WIND RIVER – Director: Taylor Sheridan. Cast: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Jon Bernthal. A Fish and Game Department employee stumbles upon the raped body of a teenage girl frozen in the desolate wilderness, and is enlisted by a rookie FBI agent unfamiliar with the terrain to help find those responsible. CAA and Voltage selling.
ABOVE SUSPICION – Director: Phillip Noyce. Cast: Emilia Clarke, Jack Huston. Fact-based tale where FBI agent Mark Putnam is convicted for murder after an affair with an informer that threatened to destroy his career and marriage. Gersh and Sierra/Affinity selling.
ANON – Director: Andrew Niccol. Cast: Clive Owen, Amanda Seyfried. Set in a future with no privacy, ignorance and anonymity, a detective stumbles across a murder scene and a young woman who doesn’t exist, discovering it may not be the end of the crime but the beginning. CAA and Sierra/Affinity selling.
THE BIG SICK – Director: Michael Showalter. Cast: Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter. Pakistan-born Kumail and his American girlfriend Emily have to overcome the suffocating expectations of his family and their 1,400-year-old traditions. Against these obstacles, love seems impossible, and their breakup appears permanent. Then, tragedy strikes and Emily falls into a mysterious coma. Judd Apatow producing. UTA and FilmNation selling.
BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 – Director: S. Craig Zahler, Cast: Vince Vaughn. A former boxer at rock bottom works for an old friend as a drug courier. But when he is caught in a gunfight between the police and his own ruthless allies, he finds himself in prison, where his enemies force him to commit acts of violence that turn the place into a savage battleground. WME Global, XYZ selling.
BREATHE – Director: Andy Serkis. Cast: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy. Based on a true story, Robin has his whole life ahead of him before he is cruelly paralyzed by polio. With his wife Diana’s devotion and determination, they refuse to be imprisoned by his suffering, travelling the world and transforming the lives of others with their humor, courage and lust for life. CAA, Embankment selling.
CHAPPAQUIDDICK – Director: John Curran. Cast: Jason Clarke. Ted Kennedy’s life and political career become derailed in the aftermath of a fatal car accident in 1969 that claims the life of a young campaign strategist, Mary Jo Kopechne.
HIGH LIFE – Director: Claire Denis. Cast: Mia Goth, Robert Pattinson, Patricia Arquette. A group of skilled criminals, in a bid to escape their long sentences or capital punishment, accept a likely-fatal government space mission to find alternative energy sources. Wild Bunch selling.
LAYOVER – Director: Toni Kalem, Cast: Penelope Cruz. A successful traveling saleswoman decides to go on the lam from her life. A master of reinvention, she develops elaborate scams for sneaking into hotel rooms, alone or with a guest, and a passion for swimming in their pools. CAA, Fortitude selling.
LOGAN LUCKY – Director: Steven Soderbergh. Cast: Channing Tatum, Michael Shannon, Riley Keough. Two brothers orchestrate a madcap heist during a high-profile NASCAR race. FilmNation selling overseas.
REBEL IN THE RYE – Director: Danny Strong. Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey, Sarah Paulson, Brian D’Arcy James. Drama about the life and mind of legendary and secretive author J.D. Salinger, and the birth of The Catcher In The Rye. CAA, Bloom selling.
SUBMERGENCE – Director: Wim Wenders. Cast: Alicia Vikander, James McAvoy. On the eastern coast of Africa, contractor James More is held captive by jihadist fighters. Thousands of miles away on the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders prepares to dive in a submersive to the ocean floor. Facing life-or-death situations and separated by thousands of miles, each finds solace in memories of their romance to overcome their ordeals. UTA, Embankment selling.
WESTGATE – Director: Everardo Gout. The nightmarish day when a group of people who find themselves trapped and in mortal danger when Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall is besieged by terrorists. CAA, Insiders selling
6 DAYS – Director: Toa Fraser. Cast: Jamie Bell, Abbie Cornish, Mark Strong. In April 1980, armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in Prince’s Gate, London and took all inside hostage. Over the next six days, a tense stand-off took place while a group of highly trained SAS soldiers prepared for a raid that would change the world forever. WME Global, XYZ selling.
THE INSTITUTE – Director: James Franco. Cast: James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson, Topher Grace, Josh Duhamel. When a young well-off girl voluntarily admits herself to a recovery institution for anxiety, her doctors believe she can serve a higher purpose in their dark pastimes. CAA, Nu Image selling.
THE OATH – Director: Baltasar Kormakur. Cast: Hera Hilmar, Gisli Orn Gardarsson. A respected doctor’s life starts to spin out of control when his daughter introduces her dangerous and manipulative new boyfriend to the family. XYZ selling.
THE SEAGULL – Director: Michael Mayer. Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening, Corey Stoll. Beautiful but aging actress Arkadina gathers her friends on her country estate to watch her son Konstantin’s new play. This play stars Konstantin’s great love Nin. But no one in this movie is in love with the right person. CAA, WME Global, K5 selling.
WALKING OUT – Director: Alex Smith. Cast: Matt Bomer, Bill Pullman, Josh Wiggins. Typical teenage urbanite travels to rural Montana to go hunting with his estranged father. When an unexpected encounter with a grizzly bear leaves them both with serious injuries, the boy must carry his father to safety if they are to survive. CAA, The Salt Company selling.
ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD – Director: Trish Sie. Cast: Cameron Monaghan, Maddie Hasson. A young man, who kills the dead armed with his father’s mysterious dagger, stumbles upon a ghost — called “Anna Dressed in Blood” — who has slayed every person who dared to step into the deserted Victorian house she used to call home. UTA, The Solution selling.
CHURCHILL – Director: Jonathan Teplitzky. Cast: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, Suki Waterhouse, John Slattery. In June 1944. Allied Forces stand on the brink: 1 million soldiers are secretly assembled on the south coast of Britain, poised to invade Nazi-occupied Europe. One man stands in their way: Winston Churchill. Embankment selling.
THE CLAPPER – Director: Dito Montiel. Cast: Ed Helms, Amanda Seyfried. Eddie Krumble works as a paid audience member for infomercials (a “clapper”) and experiences the whirlwind of overnight fame after a late-night talk show host publicizes his frequent infomercial appearances. WME Global, Fortitude selling.
HUNTER KILLER – Director: Donovan Marsh. Cast: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common. An untested American submarine captain teams with U.S. Navy SEALs to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general. Nu Image selling.
JT LEROY – Director: Justin Kelly. Cast: Kristen Stewart, James Franco, Helena Bonham-Carter. True story going behind the scenes of the hoax of JT LeRoy — a girl pretending to be a boy who identifies as transgender, duping the rich and famous in Hollywood, the fashion world, and elite literary circles. Fortitude selling overseas.
THE LAST FULL MEASURE – Director: Todd Robinson. Cast: Scott Eastwood, Ed Harris. 34 years after his death, Airman William H. Pitsenbarger, Jr. is awarded the nation’s highest military honor for his actions on the battlefield. One of the great untold stories of the Vietnam era. UTA, Foresight selling.
MANHUNT – Director: John Woo. Cast: Hanyu Zhang, Fukuyama Masaharu. A contemporary remake by the great Hong Kong director of the classic Japanese police thriller about a prosecutor framed for multiple murders who must evade the fierce pursuit of the police to vindicate his name. Media Asia selling.
THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF RACHEL DUPREE – Director: Claire McCarthy. Cast: Naomie Harris. A heavily pregnant woman on an isolated, drought-stricken ranch, uncertain if she can trust her husband to put his starving family before his own ambitions, is forced to take matters into her own hands if they are to survive. Viola Davis producing this. CAA, GFM selling overseas.
STAN AND OLLIE – Director: Jon S. Baird. Cast: Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly. A look at the personal and profession lives of the popular comedic duo, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. WME Global, CAA, Sierra/Affinity selling overseas.