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Cannes Opening Night Film ‘Everybody Knows’ Sells to Focus

Focus Features has acquired “Everybody Knows,” beating out Netflix for rights to the opening night film of this year’s Cannes.

The indie label will distribute the film in the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, select Asian territories and the Middle East, apart from Iran. Focus had previously acquired rights in Spain last year. The deal for “Everybody Knows” closed just prior to its red carpet premiere on Tuesday.

The film is Asghar Farhadi’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning “The Salesman.” It stars real-life couple Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. Farhadi also oversaw “A Separation,” picking up another Oscar for his efforts.

Focus was able to best the deeper-pocketed Netflix in the end because Farhadi and company wanted a traditional theatrical release. Netflix debuts its films simultaneously on streaming platforms and in theaters. The “Everybody Knows” filmmakers also believed that Focus, which just picked up an Oscar for “Darkest Hour” star Gary Oldman, could help them score awards attention.

Reviews for the film were more mixed than for Farhadi’s previous efforts.

Variety critic Peter Debruge said the film felt repetitive, but noted “Farhadi’s weakest film yet is still better than the vast majority of commercially made dramas in Spain, France or the United States.”

“Everybody Knows” film follows Laura (Cruz) on her travels from Argentina to her small home town in Spain for her sister’s wedding. She brings her children with her, but tragedy ensues after Laura’s eldest daughter is abducted.

“Asghar is a world-class filmmaker whose work transcends language,” Focus chairman Peter Kujawski said. “Matching his talents with these emotionally charged performances from Penelope, Javier and Ricardo will leave audiences captivated.”

“Everybody Knows” is produced by Alexandre Mallet-Guy of Memento Films and Álvaro Longoria of Morena Films. UTA Indie Film Group and Memento Films International negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmaking team. Farhadi is represented by UTA.

Focus’ upcoming films include Jason Reitman’s “Tully,” “Boy Erased” with Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman, and “Mary, Queen of Scots” with Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. The company will debut Spike Lee’s new film “BlacKkKlansman” at Cannes.

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