×

‘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.

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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content