Capitol Films reports record deals across slate

Buyers flock to 'Stormbreaker' despite lack of cast

Confirming widespread reports that the Cannes market has hit a new peak this year, Capitol Films has racked up record sales across its slate for titles including spy kid franchise “Stormbreaker” and Robert Altman’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”

“It’s not just been our best Cannes ever, it’s been our best market ever,” said Capitol co-topper Jane Barclay.

“We have five or six films of very different types that have sold out pretty much everywhere.”

The London-based company mounted a big marketing pitch to around 200 distribs for “Stormbreaker,” with a guest appearance from the pic’s U.S. partner Harvey Weinstein to outline his vision for the franchise.

The $40 million project still has no cast, but that didn’t prevent buyers from signing up in droves. Capitol presold the pic to Medusa in Italy, Metropolitan in France, Tripictures in Spain, Scanbox in Scandinavia and Belgo in Belgium, plus distribs in dozens of smaller territories.

“Sometimes you don’t know how a film will go down, because there hasn’t been anything else quite like it, but ‘Stormbreaker’ really captured people’s imagination. They understood what we were trying to do,” Barclay commented.

The new Altman movie was also presold to Medusa for Italy, Scanbox for Scandi and Bac for France.

Medusa and Scanbox also bought “Border Town,” the Jennifer Lopez/Antonio Banderas pic that Capitol is handling for David Bergstein’s Mobius. Tripictures took the movie for Spain.

“The Big White,” which screened in the market, was sold to Metropolitan in France and Telepool in Germany.

Aishwarya Rai-starrer “The Mistress of Spices,” the directorial debut of Paul Mayeda Berges, was presold prior to Cannes to Rai Cinema in Italy and DeAPlaneta in Spain, to go with existing deals in the U.K., Germany and Scandinavia. Deals were closed at Cannes with A-Film in Benelux and a score of smaller territories.

“Quite a few distribs in mid-level territories bought our entire slate,” Barclay said.

The one territory still proving “cautious” is Japan, but sales in Korea and Taiwan are “reasonable,” she commented.