Cannes: Caution In The Market

With the market officially wrapped, the deal pace has slowed to a crawl and the focus turns back to the movies. That’s after a week of international sales on some key titles and a few high-profile domestic deals in an environment that nevertheless was marked by caution. Oftentimes as Cannes is about to start, there are splashy announcements of domestic pick-ups on fest-related movies and that helps set the pace. In 2011, The Weinstein Co. acquired The Artist before the curtain lifted. Last year, it grabbed The Sapphires and Sony Pictures Classics bought Susanne Bier’s Love Is All You Need on Day One. This year, there were no eve-of-the-fest acquisitions on titles that are in official selection (although Warner Bros. moved in on Ryan Gosling’s How To Catch A Monster which is currently shooting and Lionsgate arrived in town having taken the upcoming The Quiet Ones). Ultimately, U.S. buyers that I spoke with ahead of the fest said they would be opportunistic, but cautious. “Everyone goes in very carefully,” Sony Classics’ Tom Bernard told me. “There’s a lot of pushback in the ancillary areas so when you’re spending money, you have to spend it wisely.”

Foreign sellers say there’s a shift in the balance of key territories. China, Russia, Brazil, the Middle East and even India – which has such a massive local box office – are becoming “significant pieces of the puzzle.” Spain and Italy remain the places that make sellers misty given the economic crises there. Rai, however, did pick up The Gunman starring Sean Penn in what was a notable buy for the company. That movie virtually sold out for Studiocanal. (more…)

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