×

CANNES: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Palme d’Or Frontrunner ‘Leviathan’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Deal negotiated between SPC and Pyramide Intl Friday night at Cannes on the eve of Saturday’s Cannes awards announcement

CANNES — Sony Pictures Classics has acquired U.S. and Canada rights to “Leviathan,” Russian master Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Cannes competition sensation which has proved one of the most applauded films in Cannes’ 2014 lineup.

Deal was negotiated through Friday night at the Cannes Festival.

A withering portrait of Russian state corruption and lack of justice, the Pyramide Intl.-sold “Leviathan” received raves from reviewers Friday – “Variety” called it a stunning satire – rapturous applause after its Friday public screening.

It weighed in Saturday as one of the frontrunners to snag Cannes Festival’s Palme d’Or or other major kudos at tonight’s Cannes awards ceremony.

Written by Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin, “Leviathan” is produced by Alexander Rodnyansky, whose wide-ranging credits include “Cloud Atlas,” “Stalingrad,” and “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.”

It stars Alexey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova and Vladimir Vdovichenkov. A loose retelling of the Book of Job, Zvyagintsev has explained, “Leviathan” is set in a small town near the Barents Sea, in North Russia, where a man suffers the attempts of a corrupt local mayor to evict him from his land. He fights back, with ghastly consequences.

“As good as the greatest of Russian novels, ‘Leviathan’ is a spectacular movie. We can’t wait to bring it to American audiences,” said Sony Pictures Classics.

“We are so happy to have ‘Leviathan’ in the expert hands of the team at Sony Pictures Classics. This film is very special to us as filmmakers; it tells powerful and universal truths that are grounded in a personal and intimate story. We believe it is Andrey Zviagentsev’s finest work to date and we are proud that American audiences will see it.” said Rodnyansky.

“We are so proud and happy to sell ‘Leviathan’ to SPC,” said Pyramide president Eric Lagesse.

“It is the first time Andrey Zvyagintsev will be released in the U.S. by such a big distributor. We know we found the best possible distributor for ‘Leviathan’ to have a great run in the U.S.”

Added Pyramide International’s head of sales Lucero Garzon, who negotiated the deal with SPC: “I am delighted that such a solid company as Sony Pictures Classics will be distributing ‘Leviathan’ in North America. It is the film’s most appropriate distributor and will take ‘Leviathan’ to another level there.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Yoji Yamada-directed film is to open

    Tokyo Market: Shochiku Launches Horror, Comedy and Mystery Lineup

    Major Japanese studio, Shochiku has the honor of leading off next week’s Tokyo International Film Festival with its “Tora-san, Wish You Were Here.” The film is a revival of a beloved in-house drama franchise, directed by veteran Yoji Yamada, that is set as the event’s opening night gala presentation. Before that, the company has the [...]

  • The Truth

    Singapore Festival to Focus on Asian Excellence for 30th Edition

    For its 30th edition the Singapore International Film Festival has avoided programming novelty and instead focused on assembling excellence – mostly indie titles — from Asia and further afield. The festival, which previously announced local filmmaker Anthony Chen’s second feature “Wet Season” as its opening night gala presentation, announced the balance of its programming on [...]

  • Isabela Moner Dora the Explorer

    Film News Roundup: Isabela Merced Boards Jason Momoa's 'Sweet Girl' for Netflix

    In today’s film news roundup, Isabela Merced get cast opposite Jason Momoa, “Starbright” gets financing and AFM announces its speakers. CASTING Isabela Merced, formerly Isabela Moner, has come on board to portray the daughter of Jason Momoa in his upcoming revenge thriller “Sweet Girl” for Netflix. Momoa will play a devastated man who vows to [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Seeks to Throw Out Gender Pay Gap Lawsuit

    The Walt Disney Co. is seeking to throw out a lawsuit alleging that women employees are paid less than men, arguing that the suit is too sprawling and unwieldy to handle as a class action. Andrus Anderson LLP filed the suit in April, alleging that Disney’s hiring and pay practices have a discriminatory effect on [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Christian Bale, Matt Damon to Campaign in Lead Actor Category for 'Ford v Ferrari'

    Christian Bale and Matt Damon will both campaign in the lead actor category for awards for their work in Fox’s upcoming “Ford v Ferrari,” Variety has learned. “Ford v Ferrari” follows an eccentric, determined team of American engineers and designers, led by automotive visionary Carroll Shelby (Damon) and his British driver, Ken Miles (Bale), who [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content