In the past few days, buyers at the Cannes Film Festival have had a first look at some high-profile pics they’ve already bought. Focus Features International screened Cloud Atlas on Tuesday for its distributors, and IM Global gave theirs a full showing of Dredd this afternoon. FilmNation also held screenings of three of its upcoming pics to get folks excited early.
Cloud Atlas, directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Hugh Grant. It’s based on David Mitchell’s book that consists of six interconnected stories. Warner Bros will release domestically, but the studio did not finance the $100M film. Producer Grant Hill tells me when it became clear that Warner Bros couldn’t see how to make it within the studio system, the filmmakers chose a different route. That included a combination of equity from Asian sources and some rights deals. “We were lucky it went very well and got us the money we needed,” says Hill, adding, “When we had raised the amount we needed, we were feeling pretty good about it so we said why don’t we wait and hold back 3 or 4 territories.” The territories remaining are the UK, France, Japan and Spain. The screening could lead to deals closing soon. “There’s a lot of people talking to a lot of people… The nice part about having potential buyers in the screening is that they got to sit with people who had already bought the film and who were enthusiastic. But, you can’t control the situation, it could easily have gone the other way.” The financing structure “is a model I’d try again,” he says, “but it’s not a model that’s a fit for all situations.” (more…)