×

Music Box And Soda Pictures Acquire Toronto’s Gemma Arterton-starrer ‘Gemma Bovery’ (EXCLUSIVE)

A Toronto highlight repped by Gaumont, "Gemma" was also picked up for U.K. distribution

PARIS– Chicago-based Music Box Films and U.K.’s Soda Pictures have acquired Anne Fontaine’s “Gemma Bovery,” a romantic comedy toplining British rising star Gemma Arterton, on the heels of its Special Presentation premiere at Toronto.

Sold and co-produced by Gaumont, “Gemma” was warmly received at Toronto where it steered a standing ovation and proved one of the fest’s arthouse crossover highlights.  A satirical take on Gustave Flaubert’s classic novel “Madame Bovary,” “Gemma” also sparked two offers from Australian buyers.

“Gemma” stars Arterton as a passionate young British woman who moves with her husband to a small Norman town where she meets a quirky French baker, played by popular Gallic thesp Fabrice Luchini.

The U.S. deal with Music Box Films was negotiated by president William Schopf and managing director Ed Arentz, and Gaumont International’s boss Cecile Gaget and deputy head of sales Yohann Comte.

“I’m delighted to work with (Schopf) and (Arentz) on Anne Fontaine’s “Gemma’ — They instantly grasped all the flavor, sensuality and humor of the movie,” said Gaget. “Based on our experience working with Music Box Films on Michel Hazanavicius’ “OSS: 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies” and “The Conquest,” I know they’ll do a great job distributing ‘Gemma’ in theaters.”

Gaget also noted Music Box Films’ successful handling of Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Ida,” which grossed $3.7 million in the U.S..

The U.K. sale, meanwhile, was negotiated with Ed Fletcher, Soda Pictures’ co-founder and managing director. Recently merged with Canada’s Thunderbird, Soda Pictures also bought Christian Petzold’s “Phoenix” and Michael Winterbottom’s “The Face of an Angel” at Toronto. “Gemma” marks Soda’s first acquisition of a Gaumont movie.

“Gemma”  bowed in France – distributed by Gaumont — on Sept. 10 and took the French box office’s top slot, ahead of Cameron Diaz starrer “Sex Tape” and “Lucy” with Scarlett Johansson.

The well-polished movie, which received warm reviews at Toronto, is being pushed by Gaumont as a strong candidate for this year Oscar’s foreign-language race.

Gaumont previously sold “Gemma” to Germany (Prokino), Benelux (Victory), Italy (Officine Ubu), Brazil (Mares Filmes), Scandinavia (Atlantic), Canada (Metropole), Middle East (Four Star), CIS (Exponenta), Greece (Odeon), Switzerland (Pathe) and South Korea (Sejong).

“Gemma” was penned by Fontaine and Pascal Bonitzer, based on a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds, the author of “Tamara Drewe,” which was adapted to the bigscreen by Stephen Frears and also toplined Arterton. Pic was produced by Mathieu Tarot at Albertine Productions, Philippe Carcassonne at Cine@ and co-produced by Gaumont, which also handles French distribution.

Fontaine’s last film, “Two Mothers,” an Australia-set drama with Naomi Watts and Robin Wright, world-premiered at Sundance and sold worldwide. Her 2009 movie, “Coco Before Chanel,” starring Audrey Tautou, was a commercial and critical hit.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Peter Fonda Obit Remembered

    Remembering Peter Fonda, Indie Revolutionary and Counterculture Icon (Column)

    Captain America has died. Not the spandex-clad Marvel superhero, but counterculture poster boy Peter Fonda, who shook up Hollywood and revolutionized the country’s sense of itself by co-writing, producing and starring in “Easy Rider” 50 years ago this summer — the same summer depicted in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Culture [...]

  • Knives Out

    Rian Johnson's 'Knives Out' Sells to KKR's New Distribution Company in Germany

    Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” has been picked up for Germany by the newly established distribution company owned by New York-based private equity group KKR. Fred Kogel’s rapidly growing, but still unnamed, German independent production and distribution operation has taken all rights for Germany and Austria on the all-star whodunnit, which stars Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, [...]

  • Director Mati Diop poses for photographers

    Toronto Film Festival: Director Mati Diop to Receive Inaugural Mary Pickford Award

    French actress and director Mati Diop will be honored with the inaugural Mary Pickford Award for outstanding female talent at the Toronto International Film Festival’s upcoming Tribute Gala. TIFF announced the news along with their schedule of events including live performances and interviews featuring directors and actors such as Oscar winner Javier Bardem. “Mati Diop’s [...]

  • Hollywood Recession Business Placeholder

    How an Economic Downturn Could Ravage Hollywood

    Trade-war fears, stock market volatility and, most recently, bond market signals that point to a pending recession are rattling investors, igniting concerns that another devastating downturn may be just around the corner. As those worries reverberate all the way from Wall Street to Hollywood, the entertainment industry is in for an unsettling reminder of the [...]

  • 'La Muralla'

    HBO Latino Snaps up Bolivia’s ‘Muralla’ by Gory Patiño (EXCLUSIVE)

    In its continued bid to provide a diverse range of films from Latin America, HBO Latino has acquired U.S. pay TV rights to Bolivian Gory Patiño’s thriller “Muralla” from Alfredo Calviño of Habanero Film Sales. “Muralla” was Bolivia’s official entry to the 2019 Oscars and Golden Globes. Back home, where it had a 10-week theatrical [...]

  • Wagner Moura

    Wagner Moura’s ‘Marighella’ Slated for Nov. 20 Release Amid Calls for Boycott

    SANTIAGO, Chile – “Marighella,” Wagner Moura’s contentious directorial debut, is slated to bow in Brazil on Nov. 20 but Moura fears that its domestic release could be hampered by ongoing calls to boycott it by conservatives and the government of President Jair Bolsonaro who claims, among other things, that Brazil’s 21 years under military rule [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content