×

Berlin: 2016 Sees Strong But Select Biz at the European Film Market

But U.S. distribution – and there are a limited number of distributors - now the key to international success

This year’s European Film Market may well go down as the strongest in years. “There was a great selection of titles, of everything you want: Big, small, sophisticated, arthouse, director-driven titles,” said Ivan Boeing at Imagem.

The most high-profile deal happened when Paramount closed domestic for around $10 million on the George Clooney-directed “Suburbicon.” The new leadershsip at Focus Features nabbed North America and most of international on Jeff Nichols’ “Loving” for $9 million. CAA handled both the “Suburbicon” and “Loving” domestic deals.

U.S. theatrical deals are once again important in the international sales mix, after years where they relegated to the background. “What really struck me at Berlin this year was the significant number of titles on which sellers guaranteed their film would get U.S. theatrical release, sometimes a conventional release or a studio pick-up,” said Boeing.

Some even guaranteed a movie’s screen count. “If you don’t have a U.S. deal but can guarantee one with a minimum number of prints, it amounts to more or less the same thing,” said Foresight’s Mark Damon.

“Suburbicon” has sold out in almost all of the international territories, said Alex Walton of the film’s sales company Bloom. “The U.S. deal was of major importance,” he said, adding that without it, “Suburbicon” would have sold but not as effectively within the timeframe of the market. Clooney and the film’s producers made a presentation to buyers at Berlin.

Other big movies did strong business with international territories: Foresight Unlimited’s disaster action thriller “Category 5,” has sold most of the world, recently closing with SND for France. The Solution Entertainment Group clinched key territories on espionage thriller “Official Secrets,” starring Harrison Ford. Steven Soderbergh’s “Logan Lucky,” handled by FilmNation, and Pathe’s period drama “A United Kingdom,” figured among Berlin’s other hottest tickets, per distributors. FilmNation completed international sales on prestige pic “The Sense of an Ending.”

Among other titles, Ira Sachs’ “Little Men,” repped by Mongrel Intl., closed key territories after warm responses at Sundance and Berlin; Alec Baldwin-Salma Hayek comedy “Drunk Parents” sold multiple territories for Fortitude Intl.

Other Angle’s French action-comedy “Full Speed,” Film Factory’s spy thriller “Smoke and Mirrors,” Memento Films Intl.’s Ashgar Farhardi project, and Fortissimo’s Academy Award-shortlisted “Theeb” are among key foreign-language titles that sold.

Yet, despite the wealth of product, dealing still looked quite select through early Monday. “There’s not much in-between business. It’s either big pictures or very special art-films with important directors,” Damon said.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Aaron Janus Lionsgate

    Lionsgate Hires 'A Quiet Place' Producer Aaron Janus as Senior VP of Production

    Lionsgate has hired Aaron Janus as its new senior vice president of production and promoted Meredith Wieck to the post of vice president of production.  Prior to Lionsgate, Janus served as Platinum Dunes’ head of development, where he oversaw filmmakers Brad Fuller, Andrew Form and Michael Bane. There, he brought in “A Quiet Place,” on [...]

  • Ang Lee Reveals First Look at

    Ang Lee on 'Gemini Man' and De-Aging Will Smith

    On paper, Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” is a standard-issue, shoot ’em up with Will Smith playing a deadly assassin who must battle a younger clone of himself. The explosions and gun battles aren’t what drew Lee to the project, even if they’re the reason that most people will show up at theaters when it opens [...]

  • Hopper Reserve

    Dennis Hopper's Dying Wish: His Own Strain of Marijuana

    Even as celebrity brands are starting to flood the emerging Cannabis market, Hopper Reserve stands out. The brand was launched by Marin Hopper, Dennis Hopper’s daughter from his marriage to Brooke Hayward. Hopper Reserve is a gram of California indoor-grown flower, two packs of rolling papers, a pair of matches and a trading card either [...]

  • Sean Clarke Aardman Staff Photography Bristol.Pic

    Aardman Appoints Sean Clarke as New Managing Director

    Aardman, the Oscar-winning animation studio behind “Chicken Run” and “Early Man,” has appointed Sean Clarke as its new managing director, replacing co-founder David Sproxton, who is stepping down after 43 years. Clarke has worked at the British studio for more than 20 years, including heading the international rights and marketing department for over a decade. [...]

  • The Antenna

    Toronto Film Review: 'The Antenna'

    Jump scares, creepy noises and the tease of hidden-from-view dangers are all fine. But a truly frightening horror film unsettles with more than its crafts, but instead through the vulnerability of defenseless people stuck with bad options only. First-time writer-director Orçun Behram’s highly stylized and mildly disturbing “The Antenna,” a metaphor on Turkey’s current ruling [...]

  • Ad Astra Box Office

    Box Office Battle: 'Ad Astra' Takes on 'Rambo: Last Blood' and 'Downton Abbey'

    “Hustlers” and “Good Boys” proved that even in the age of Marvel dominance and remake mania, movies that don’t exist within an established franchise can still be box office draws. Can “Ad Astra” continue that trend? The space drama — starring Brad Pitt and directed by James Gray — arrives on the big screen this [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Accuser Lucia Evans Breaks

    Harvey Weinstein Accuser Lucia Evans Breaks Silence After D.A. Dropped Charge

    Lucia Evans gave a wrenching account on Tuesday of her efforts to hold Harvey Weinstein responsible for sexual assault, saying she felt betrayed after the Manhattan D.A.’s office dropped her allegations last year. Evans spoke to Variety after giving a speech at a conference on influencer fraud in Manhattan, making her first public comments on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content