'Enemy,' 'Last Passenger,' 'Beauty and the Beast' attract buyers

CANNES — Rolling off sustained Cannes trading, Pathe International, the sales arm of the leading European mini-major based out of the U.K. and France, has closed a near 100 deals on often high-profile and always director-driven Gallic and American titles.

Sales underscore a strong market demand for three of Pathe’s strongest bets: auteur genre movies, bigger-budgeted French fare and French comedies, particularly in Germany, where “The Intouchables” has passed $75 million.

Intense psychological thriller “An Enemy,” Canadian helmer Denis Villeneuve’s awaited follow-up to Oscar-nommed “Incendies,” delivered on pre-market buzz. Pic, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, closed Russia (Carmen), Middle East (Phars), Turkey (BIR Films), Latin America (Imagem) and Thailand (M Pictures).

Further sales were South Korea (Noori), Portugal (Lusomondo), Greece (Video Seven), Israel (Orlando) and Indonesia (PT Amero).

CCC (Japan), Santo Domingo (Mexico), Distribution Co. (Argentina) and Eurofilms (Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia) bought first-timer Omid Nooshin’s high-concept thriller “Last Passenger.” Pic recently sold to the U.S. (Cohen Media Group), Germany (Square One) and seven other territories.

“We have found that, in the current economic climate, distributors are looking for unique and intelligent projects to connect with audiences,” said Muriel Sauzay, exec VP, international sales.

“Our focus is to continue to supply titles from ambitious filmmakers of the highest quality.”

Pathe also pre-sold Christophe Gans’ E33 million ($43 million) “The Beauty and the Beast,” adapting the classic love story, with Vincent Cassel, Lea Seydoux and Gerard Depardieu.

Russia (West Video), South Korea (Unikorea), Spain (DeA Planeta) and China figured among nine deals.

Off a private screening attended by stars Sophie Marceau and Gad Elmaleh, Pathe closed multiple sales on French romcom “Happiness Never Comes Alone,” including Germany (Senator), Russia (Daro) and Spain (DeAPlaneta). Seven other territories went down.

Alexandre de la Patelliere and Matthieu Delaporte’s comedy “What’s in a Name,” which has grossed nearly $23 million in Gaul, Belgium and Switzerland, went to Russia (Daro), Greece (Filmtrade), Argentina (Telexcel) and Hungary (MTVA). Pathe sold major European territories — notably Germany (Warner), Italy (Eagle) and Spain (Vertigo) — at Berlin.

A German deal will be announced shortly on Alain Chabat’s comedy-adventure “Houba! On the Trail of the Marsupilami,” which grossed $61 million France, Switzerland and Belgium, Sauzay said.

Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar’s heartwarming comedy “Bowling” was acquired for Germany (Alamode) and four other territories, while Nicolas Bary’s soph feature “Au Bonheur des ogres,” starring Berenice Bejo, Raphael Personnaz and Emir Kusturica, has sold to Italy.

Preeming at Berlin, Remi Bezancon and Jean Christophe Lie’s 2D toon pic “Zarafa” went to Russia (West Video), Germany (Alamode), South Korea (Uni Korea), Hungary (MTVA), Greece (FilmTrade) and Romania (Metropolis). Pathe is closing a U.S. deal.

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