In one of the most significant deals scored at the American Film Market, Amazon Studios has acquired Nicolas Winding Refn’s anticipated “The Neon Demon” and will release it theatrically Stateside next summer.
“The Neon Demon” stars Elle Fanning, Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks and Jena Malone. The edgy pic is being jointly handled by Gaumont and Wild Bunch, who previously teamed on Refn’s last film “Only God Forgives,” which competed at Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Gaumont and Wild Bunch co-financed and are co-handling international sales on “The Neon Demon.” Manuel Chiche’s The Jokers will distribute the film in France association with Wild Bunch and Gaumont.
“The Neon Demon” centers on an aspiring model who moves to Los Angeles where her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will go to any lengths to get what she has.
“One morning I woke and realized I was both surrounded and dominated by women. Strangely, a sudden urge was planted in me to make a horror film about vicious beauty,” said Refn about the genesis of the film.
Refn’s partner, Lene Borglum (“Valhalla Rising,” “Only God Forgives”) produced under their Danish banner Space Rocket.
Refn won the director prize at Cannes in 2011 with Ryan Gosling starrer “Drive,” which has achieved a near-cult status and became a major critical success. Refn’s past credits also include “Pusher” and “Valhalla Rising.”
“The Neon Demon” brings together Refn’s regular creative team: Editor Matthew Newman and composer Cliff Martinez. “The Rover” cinematographer Natasha Braier completes the key crew.
The deal was negotiated by Gaumont ‘s Cecile Gaget and Wild Bunch’s Vincent Maraval and Carole Baraton on behalf of Refn.
Spearheaded by producer Ted Hope, Amazon Studios was launched in June to acquire original movies for theatrical release and early-window distribution on Amazon Prime Instant Video. Aiming to produce and distribute up to 12 movies per year, Amazon Studios’s slate already boasts the dark comedy “Desired Moments” with Kristen Wiig and Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq.”