×

‘Shaun the Sheep 2,’ ‘Madame,’ ‘Guernsey’ Proved Hot AFM Sellers for Studiocanal (EXCLUSIVE)

PARIS – One of the rare European companies to have scored a large volume of pre-sales at this year’s AFM, Studiocanal fared best with Aardman Animations’ stop-motion feature “Shaun the Sheep 2,” Amanda Sthers’ Paris-based dramedy “Madame” and Mike Newell’s adaptation of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.”

Richard Starzak’s “Shaun the Sheep 2,” the sequel to the Oscar-nominated feature based on the British Wallace and Gromit spinoff series, pre-sold in many territories even though it is still in very early stages and is expected to be released no sooner than in 2019.

Deals were closed for Italy (Koch Media), Japan (Tohokushinsha), Svensk (Scandinavia), Switzerland (Impuls”), Baltics (Acme), Iceland (Myndform), Portugal (Lusomundo), Turkey (Fabula), Greece (Spentzos), Lebanon (Salim Ramia), Taiwan (Caichang), EIM for airlines, Ex-Yugoslavia (Blitz), Poland (Monolith), Israel (Lev), Czech Republic (Bohemia), Benelux (eOne), Singapore (Shaw), India (Pictureworks) and Hong Kong (Edko).

On top of earning an Oscar nomination, “Shaun the Sheep Movie” grossed $19.3 million in the U.S., where it was released by Lionsgate, and $106 million worldwide.

Popular on Variety

A U.S. deal is currently in negotiations.

“Distributors who handled ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie’ love the brand. They have a passion for it,” said Anna Marsh, head of international sales at Studiocanal.

Pitched as “Shaun the Sheep” in “Farmageddon,” the animated feature follows the adventure of Shaun and the flock facing an alien invasion.

Studiocanal hosted sessions with Aardman Animations creatives on hand to pitch the project to buyers in broad strokes at the AFM.

“The imagination, humor and creativity of the project clicked immediately with distributors,” said Marsh, who added that when handling animated films, Studiocanal was looking to bring distributors on board early on to strategize the marketing campaign.

Meanwhile, “Madame,” a well-polished dramedy starring Toni Collette (“Little Miss Sunshine”), Harvey Keitel (“Youth”) and Rossy de Palma (“Julieta”), pre-sold to Spain (Dea Planeta), Latin America (California Filmes), Greece (Feel Good), Hong Kong (Edko), South Africa (Times Media), Japan (Kino), Iceland (Myndform), Switzerland (Impuls), Portugal (Lusomundo), Turkey (Fabula), Israel (Forum), Middle East (Salim Ramia), Poland (Kinoswiat), Ex-Yugoslavia (Blitz) and Penny Black for Airlines.

Now in post-production, “Madame” stars De Palma, a regular actress in Pablo Almodovar movies, as a housemaid who works for a couple of American socialites (played by Collette and Keitel) living in Paris and embarks on an unlikely romance with a dandy British art broker.

Produced by LGM Films, “Madame” marks the English-language debut of Amanda Sthers, a screenwriter-turned-filmmaker.

“‘Madame’ pre-sold because it knows its audience. Its pitch is very clear and it embodies in many ways the glamour of Paris. It’s a feel good movie that has a strong emotional undertone,” said Marsh.

Another hot title on Studiocanal’s AFM slate, “Guernsey” was picked up for Singapore (Shaw), Portugal (Lusomundo), Ex Yugoslavia (Blitz), Switzerland (Impuls), Benelux (Belga), Spain (A Contracorriente), Scandinavia (Svensk), Japan (Kino Films), Greece (Spentzos), and Captive for Airlines.

Based on Mary-Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ book, the movie stars Lily James (“Cinderella”) as a free-spirited journalist who starts writing about an extraordinary and eccentric book club that formed during World War II. The film is produced by The Mazur/Kaplan Company and Blueprint Pictures.

“The sales success of ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ proves the huge popularity of the book, a New York Times bestseller published in 37 territories with sales 7.5 million, and it shows once again the international potential of quality chick lit,” said the exec.

Studiocanal is also selling the 3D version of James Cameron’s action classic “Terminator 2” which Marsh says has a “modern look and feel,” underscoring the “genius of James Cameron.”

Studiocanal is preparing an ambitious release for “Terminator 2” early next year.

More Film

  • Dream Horse Review

    'Dream Horse': Film Review

    Louise Osmond’s 2015 Sundance audience winner “Dark Horse” was one of those documentaries that played like a crowdpleasing fiction, its real-life tale of underdog triumph had such a conventionally satisfying narrative arc. And indeed, the new “Dream Horse” proves that same material is indeed ready-made for dramatization. Euros Lyn’s feature springs few true surprises within [...]

  • Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein appear

    'The Nowhere Inn': Film Review

    Bill Benz’s high-concept rock mockumentary opens with a white limo speeding through the desert. The driver (Ezra Buzzington) has never heard of his passenger, the cult sensation Annie Clark, better known by her stage name St. Vincent. “I’m not for everybody,” she shrugs. The driver is unsatisfied. “Don’t worry,” he glowers. “We’ll find out who [...]

  • THE_GLORIAS_DM_02-12-2019-00128.arw

    'The Glorias': Film Review

    In “The Glorias,” Julie Taymor’s pinpoint timely yet rousingly old-fashioned biopic about the life and times of Gloria Steinem, the legendary feminist leader is portrayed by four different actresses at four different stages of her life. Alicia Vikander plays her as a young woman wearing a sari as she travels through India, planting her flag [...]

  • Black Bear

    'Black Bear': Film Review

    Actor-writer Lawrence Michael Levine’s first two directorial features, “Gabi on the Roof in July” and “Wild Canaries,” were idiosyncratic indie hipster comedies of a familiar stripe. His third, “Black Bear,” is a much trickier proposition, a kind of narrative puzzle box in which one might be hard-pressed to find a solution, or even determine there [...]

  • Wendy

    'Wendy': Film Review

    Eight long years after “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Benh Zeitlin brings that same rust-bottomed sense of magical realism to the legend of Peter Pan, reframing J.M. Barrie’s Victorian classic through the eyes of the eldest Darling. “Wendy,” as the indie-minded not-quite-family-film is aptly titled, re-envisions its title character as a working-class kiddo raised at [...]

  • The 40-Year-Old Version

    'The 40-Year-Old Version': Film Review

    In Radha Blank’s semi-autobiographical comedy, the quadruple-threat plays “Rahda Blank,” a Harlem-based playwright who faces many of the same struggles and setbacks as her creator. It’s been more than a decade since Radha (as we’ll call the character) earned a promising “30 Under 30” award, and now, instead of getting her work produced, she’s teaching [...]

  • Pamela Tola

    Göteborg: Pamela Tola Proves There is an Audience for Different Stories

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden —  Chosen to close the discussion dedicated to discrimination against elderly people at the Göteborg Film Festival, Pamela Tola’s “Ladies of Steel” fitted right into this year’s focus on feminism and gender at the Swedish event. Which managed to deliver on its 50/50 promise, with 54% of the presented films being directed by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content