CANNES — Marking one of the sales hits at this year’s Cannes market, Lionsgate Intl. has closed over 30 territory deals – 50-plus territories breaking out Latin America – on psychological thriller “Marrowbone,” exec produced by J.A. Bayona, and the directorial debut of Sergio G. Sanchez, his scribe on “The Orphanage” and co-writer on “The Impossible.”
Belen Atienza, who produced Bayona’s “The Impossible,” one of the highest grossing of recent independent titles, and his upcoming “A Monster Calls,” produces with Guislain Barrois and Alvaro Augustin at Spain’s Telecinco Cinema. The powerful film production arm of Mediaset España, Telecinco Cinema has a longstanding relationship with Bayona, co-producing “The Orphanage,” “The Impossible” and “A Monster Calls.”
Licensed to major independent distributors outside Lionsgate Intl.’s output deals, “Marrowbone” has closed France (Metropolitan Export), U.K. (eOne) Latin America (Imagem), Australia (Roadshow) and Italy (Leone Film Group). Universal Pictures Intl. (UPI ) will release in Spain.
Part of Lionsgate Intl.’s diverse Cannes lineup, which includes tentpoles and star-driven movies, “Marrowbone’s” 10-week English-language shoot is scheduled from June in Northern Spain’s Asturias, Sanchez’s home region, and the Barcelona suburb of Terrasa.
“Marrowbone” turns on a 20-year-old who, with his three younger siblings, is plagued by a sinister presence in the manor where they live. To stay together, they have kept secret the death of their beloved mother.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with Lionsgate’s work on ‘Marrowbone,’” said Barrois, Telecinco Cinema CEO, describing “Marrowbone” as “‘The Orphanage’ meets ‘The Others.’”
He added: “The protagonists of “Marrowbone” are mainly children, like in these films. For us, as Mediaset España’s CEO Paolo Vasile pointed out, “Marrowbone” is part of an important lineage. Guillermo del Toro godfathered Juan Antonio Bayona’s ‘The Orphanage,’ and now Juan Antonio is godfathering Sergio’s debut. We hope Sergio will play the same role in the future.”
Telecinco Cinema also produced Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth.” In what could be seen as a grand tradition of modern humanistic auteur genre films coming out of Spain, -“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Orphanage,” “The Impossible” and now “A Monster Calls” – all turn on children missing parents, or parents missing children, the pain of fundamental, riven relationships.
Toplining Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones, Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebbell, and Geraldine Chaplin, “A Monster Calls” is slated to open in the U.S. via Focus Features on Oct 14.