Top films delay deals at Cannes

'Sicko,' 'Control' among available titles

After the high-profile pickups of “We Own the Night” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” the 60th edition of Cannes left a few appetizing morsels on the table.

Several more pacts are likely to be sealed for distribution in the U.S. and other key global territories after the fest wraps Sunday.

Among the notables:

  • “Control,” the Anton Corbijn-helmed portrait of doomed Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, impressed most critics and buyers in the market and as the opening act of Directors’ Fortnight. Several buyers, including IFC and Tartan Releasing, made offers in the low six figures, but the black and white lensing is a deterrent because some ancillary avenues flat-out cannot handle non-color fare. Warner Music controls the soundtrack, but a tie-in boost is not automatic.

  • “Sicko.” While domestic rights have long resided with The Weinstein Co., sales around the world have been cloaked in some mystery. After pronouncements upon the pic’s successful opening night screening (out of competition) about buyers likely flocking to TWC, there has been an odd silence, amid a sense that the asking prices in many zones may simply be too high for a doc about American health care. U.K. rights, for example, are still available for whoever ponies up $2 million, which sets the B.O. bar fairly high. People familiar with the talks point to Momentum as possibly having the inside track. Officially, TWC international chief Glen Basner would only call Cannes “a terrific market” for the company, and noted that a few presales had been logged in advance of the fest.

  • “Untitled Larry Charles Project.” With almost the entire world already sold, the docu hosted and narrated by Bill Maher and helmed by Charles whipped up a bit of a frenzy in Cannes with the screening of a 10-minute promo reel. Shot but not yet cut, the comic skewering of organized religion is a tossup, and CAA said Maher and Charles planned to meet with buyers in L.A. and a deal would not likely come before June. Skeptics said Maher’s abrasive style could cap the film’s potential, but boosters said the subject matter, Charles’s “Borat” and “Seinfeld” bona fides and broader acceptance of docs of late left plenty of upside.

  • “Cassandra’s Dream.” Woody Allen’s film is described as an even more sober affair than “Match Point.” Starring Ewan MacGregor, Colin Farrell and Tom Wilkinson, it has wrapped production and Wild Bunch was selling in Cannes. Rumors persisted about a U.S deal throughout the week, with strong indications that The Weinstein Co. would emerge with the pic, though the company has not officially confirmed any deal.

(Adam Dawtrey and Alison James contributed to this report.)

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