Led by Marion Cotillard-starrer “From the Land of the Moon,” Euro film-TV group Studiocanal has announced 50 sales deals off its Berlin’s European Film Market on a slate of prestige European titles with often big festival promise plus the scale to play select multiplexes abroad.
Dealings demonstrate the benefits of film-by-film production-financing-sales alliances with some of the best producers in Europe’s business, as well as the big plus of movies helmed by name directors such as Nicole Garcia (“From the Land of the Moon”) and Fatih Akin (“Goodbye Berlin”) and starring Cotillard, Pierre Niney, Daniel Auteuil and Adele Exarchopoulos and Guillaume Gallienne.
Produced by Alain Attal at Les Productions du Tresor, the company behind Maiwenn’s Vincent Cassel-toplining “My King” — and a case in point — “From the Land of the Moon” will be distributed in Europe’s by far three biggest territories of France, the U.K. and Germany by Studiocanal itself.
An attraction for producers working with Studiocanal, the U.K., France and Germany alone repped about $4.5 billion in gross box office last year, over 40% of the U.S. theatrical market (while, in a plus for Studiocanal, they entail far less in P&A costs).
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On Studiocanal pre-sales on Nicole Garcia’s “From the Land of the Moon,” an adaptation of Milena Agus’ best-selling novel, starring Cotillard, actor-director Louis Garrel (“Dreamers,” “Jealousy”) and Alex Brendemühl (“The German Doctor,” “The Hours of the Day”), the woman’s drama closed Japan (New Select) while Korea is under negotiation. A U.S. sales deal announcement is expected shortly, said Anna Marsh, Studiocanal head of international film sales.
A sale of a foreign film to Japan is rare, Marsh said. While sales companies often pre-sell smaller territories, major territory pre-sales are also usually a sign of distributors hitting asking prices, sometimes spurred by the desire to take a major fest title off their market before a big festival.
In a slew of other sales, the post-World War II-set “From the Land of the Moon,” which follows for over 20 years the destiny of a passionate woman locked in a loveless marriage, clinched Czech Republic (ITA), ex-Yugoslavia (Megacom), Spentzos (Greece), Middle East (Selim Ramia), Portugal (Outsider Films) and Turkey (Fabula). Airlines, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia are under negotiation.
“These are the strongest pre-sales we’ve seen on a French film in a very long time,” Marsh said.
“The story is based on a bestseller, when literary adaptations seem to be really taking off. There’s obviously the casting package: Marion Cotillard and also Louis Garrel, an up-and-coming, talented French actor,” she added.
“The film is well-positioned as a prestige festival title. And producer Alain Attal, whose ‘My King’ we sold last year – a film which did very well, has been nominated for eight Cesars – is known as a producer who really delivers.”
Along with Fatih Akin’s “Goodbye Berlin,” sold to Spain, Daniel Auteuil-starrer “Kalinka” and Kai Wessel’s “Fog in August,” both bought for Italy, were Studiocanal’s other top Berlin performers.
Golem (Spain), September Films (Benelux), Megacom (former Yugoslavia), Rosebud 21 (Greece), Selim Ramia (Middle East), Pathe (Switzerland) and Fabula (Turkey) acquired “Goodbye Berlin,” a comedic coming-of-age road movie from one of Germany’s best-known auteurs (“The Edge of Heaven,” “The Cut”).
Three distributors who bought “Goodbye Berlin” have released Akin movies before, said Marsh, in a case of a name director bringing a network of clients to a sales agent.
Starring Daniel Auteuil, a Cannes, Cesar and BAFTA best actor winner, as André Bamberski, who fought an awe-inspiring 27-year legal battle to bring his daughter’s killer to justice, truth is stranger and stronger than fiction in “Kalinka.” Another true-events-based movie from Victor Garenq (“The Clearstream Affair,” “Guilty”), “Kalinka” was already one of the most talked-about at the Paris UniFrance Rendez-Vous. Sales have made good on that promise with Good Films closing Italy and AZ Films Canada, among eight smaller territories. “It is based on a true story which makes it more emotional and poignant,” said Marsh.
One among five buyers, Good Films also licensed Italy on “Fog in August,” from Wessel (“Die Flucht”) about a young boy, played by Ivo Pietzcker (“Jack”), one of Variety’s 2016 10 Europeans to Watch, who battles to save some young hospital inmates from a Third Reich euthanasia program.
With a trailer screened at Berlin, the film is another example of movies sourced from Studiocanal’s German production arm Studiocanal Films now impacting the company’s global sales slate. “Heidi” has nearly sold out worldwide.
“Fog in August” “exceeded expectations with this very powerful true story, an emotional portrait of an incredible courageous young boy,” Marsh said.
“Éperdument,” a jail-set star-crossed love story starring Exarchopoulos and Guillaume Gallienne (“Yves Saint Laurent”) and produced by France’s Pan Européenne and LGM Cinema, two more top French shingles, initiated sales with six deals, led by Korea’s Pan Cinema, Benelux’s O’Brother and Turkey’s Medyavizion.
Of Studiocanal’s French comedies, “Five,” a petty crime caper with Pierre Niney, and love-triangle story “French Cuisine,” both kicked off sales following UniFrance Rendez-Vous screenings last month, selling eight and five territories, respectively. Two big-appetite buyers – Middle East’s Selim Ramia, and Medyavizyon, from Turkey, now a bigger B.O. market than Sweden or Poland — took both.
Studiocanal didn’t bring onto the market at Berlin any big new family title such as 2015 Cannes’ “Early Man,” from Aardman, or big action thriller, such as Liam Neeson-starrer “The Commuter,” a 2015 AFM standout.
European arthouse/crossover movies “are only a piece of what we do. It was great to be able to concentrate on these homegrown quality European movies. Buyers are very picky and rightfully so. When we put a film for sales in the line-up, it’s got to be the best, the top of the category,” Marsh said.
But, she added, there’s “a market for art house cinema. Not necessarily the same numbers wise, but you adjust your prices and your economics making these movies.”