Sony Pictures Classics Circling ‘Fall of the American Empire’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Michael Barker Tom Bernard
Michelle Quance/Variety/REX/Shut

Sony Pictures Classics is in exclusive negotiations to buy “The Fall of the American Empire,” Variety has learned.

The Canadian crime thriller was written and directed by Denys Arcand and stars Alexandre Landry, Maxim Roy, Yan England and Rémy Girard. It centers on a man (Landry) who discovers two bags of money and is faced with a moral dilemma. Arcand was inspired to make the film after learning about the 2010 murder of two people in a Montreal boutique.

No deal for the film is in place, so a pact could fall through. However, it appears increasingly likely that the indie distributor will land distribution rights. The film is a thematic cousin to Arcand’s Oscar-nominated “The Decline of the American Empire” and the Oscar-winning “The Barbarian Invasions” (2003).

Sony has a strong track record with art house fare. The company scored a best picture Oscar nod last year for “Call Me by Your Name,” and has also released the likes of “Howard’s End,” “Whiplash,” and “Still Alice.” Its upcoming films include “Puzzle” and “The Wife,” and it recently debuted “The Rider” to great acclaim.

Sony Pictures Classics has been active at this year’s Cannes, picking up North American and Latin American rights to Nadine Labaki’s Cannes competition title “Capernaum” in advance of its festival premiere.

Seville International is handling sales on “The Fall of the American Empire.” The movie will be released in Canada by Les Films Seville on June 28.

Ramin Setoodeh contributed to this report.