Woody’s ‘Match’ lights a fire

Pic is hot pick-up in fest's early days

He’s not on the Croisette, but Woody Allen was the talk of the town in the early days of this year’s Cannes Film fest.

His new movie, “Match Point,” went over like gangbusters in out-of-competition screenings May 12 — and it doesn’t even have a distributor. Bets in Cannes are that Focus, Fox Searchlight or the new HBO-New Line entity may be moved by the popular reaction to tie down rights to the London-set dramatic chamber piece starring Scarlett Johannson.

Much has been made of Allen’s shift from his usual New York milieu and the creative sparks generated by Johannson, who got the pic’s lead role after Kate Winslet bowed out.

On the other hand, old Cannes hands point out that the Woodman’s last few movies — including the March release “Melinda and Melinda” — haven’t exactly burned up the box office charts Stateside.

“Just because we’re in France (where Woody is an icon), doesn’t mean some distribs should go bonkers,” says one veteran distrib exec.

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