Announcing very possibly the first clean sales sweep on one of the major new titles brought onto the market at Cannes, Studiocanal, part of Vivendi’s Canal Plus Group, sold out worldwide on the David Heyman-produced “The Secret Garden.”
Studiocanal’s notably all-women sales team, overseen by distribution chief Anna Marsh and headed by international sales chief Anne Chérel, has also licensed “The Lost Prince,” to be directed by Academy Award winning Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”), to near all the world outside the U.S.
The sales, compounded by bullish first results on Studiocanal’s Romain Gavras’ “The World is Yours,” beg the question as to the possible depth of Cannes’ pre-sales market. This year’s market buzz has, to date at least, centered very largely on a narrow band of high-profile titles backed by standout director, star or producer talent.
At least for Studiocanal, Europe’s biggest movie production-distribution-sales company, the 2018 Cannes Film Market was “beyond expectations,” Chérel said on Monday evening, as the Cannes market wound down fast. “Everything we wanted to sell is sold.”
She added: “This has been a big market for us, where we have sold across a slate which is extremely eclectic, even more so than usual.”
Negotiated from early last week, North American distribution on “The Secret Garden” – produced by Heyday Films’ David Heyman (the “Harry Potter” franchise, “Gravity”) – was closed with Global Road Ent., in a deal announced on Saturday.
In further sales, the family title has been acquired, of major markets, for Italy (Lucky Red), Latin America (IDC), Spain (Tripictures), Scandinavia (Svensk), Japan (Kino Film), CIS (Volga), South Korea (Playlist) and China (Fundamental).
Studiocanal will distribute The Secret Garden” directly in the U.K., France, Germany and Australia/New Zealand.
Also closed are Portugal (Nos Lusomundo), Middle East (Salim Ramia), Poland (Monolith), Eastern Europe (Vertical), Greece (Spentzos), Hong Kong (Panorama), Thailand (Sahamongkol), Taiwan (Movie Cloud), Philippines (Pioneer), India (PVR), ex-Yugoslavia (Blitz), the Baltics (Acme), Vietnam (Blue Lantern), Airlines (Penny Black) and Malaysia (Squarebox).
In all, only “one or two” small territories are still available, Cherel said. Sales are all the more impressive for having been made at Cannes in the space of five days.
Celebrating friendship, nature and the limitless power of childhood imagination, the film’s description runs, “The Secret Garden” stars Colin Firth and Julie Walters,and is directed by Marc Munden from a script written by Jack Thorne, adapting Frances Hodgson Burnett evergreen 1911 novel.
“As a French company we are incredibly proud to produce, sell and distribute the very best of British culture, continuing our successful collaboration with Heyday Films on ‘The Secret Garden’ following ‘Paddington’ and ‘Paddington 2,’” said Chérel.
She called the film “an incredible package; a multi-award winning producer, an enduring classic of children’s literature, an accessible budget and a fantastical reimagining by director Marc Munden.”
“The Secret Garden” was made on a reported $25 million budget, increasing the accessibility of asking prices.
Hazanavicius’ fantasy-laced father-daughter comedy “The Lost Prince,” starring Omar Sy (“The Intouchables,” “Two is Family”) and Bérénice Bejo (“The Artist”), is produced by Vendome Pictures’ Philippe Rousselet (“Two is Family,” “La Famille Belier”).
Turning on a father seeking to regain the imaginative bond he once had with his now teen daughter when he told her bed-time stories as a child, outside of North America, Studiocanal has all but sold out on “The Lost Prince.” The speed of these sales is highly unusual for a French-language film.
“The Lost Prince” has closed Italy (Leone), Latin America (IDC), Spain (Tripictures), Scandinavia (Svensk), Japan – Kino Film), China (Joy Pictures), South Korea (AUD) and the CIS. 15 smaller, sometimes multi-country, territories are also sold. The title again can be put through Studiocanal’s major territory direct distribution operations.
“Director Michel Hazanavicus is creating what he envisages to be a live action Pixar movie: a film for families and audiences of all ages to relish worldwide. An ambitious and very smart undertaking which we and our distribution partners believe in,” Chérel commented, reporting the title provoked bidding wars in several territories.
Studiocanal hopes to close a U.S. deal “in the next few days” on “The World is Yours,” starring Isabelle Adjani (“Possession”) and Vincent Cassel (“Black Swan”), directed by Gavras (“Our Day Will Come”) and produced by Iconoclast Films (“Spring Breakers”) and Chi-Fou-Mi Productions (“Sink or Swim”).
In early sales, the crime comedy has licensed to Portugal (Nos Lusomundo), Benelux (Athena), Middle East (Salim Ramia), Poland (Best Film), Japan (Kino Film), China (Vision), Greece (Weirdwave), Hungary (Elf), ex-Yugoslavia (Dexin), Baltics (Acme), Ukraine (Ufd) and Vietnam (Skyline).
“Studiocanal is also proud to finance and produce a strong and diverse slate of French-language films, the quality of which can enthrall audiences worldwide,” Chérel said.
She added: “We consider all of our films to be International and ‘Sink or Swim,’ ‘The Lost Prince’ and ‘The World is Yours’ fully demonstrate this.”