×

TF1 Studio Sells Most of the World on Freddie Highmore Starrer ‘Way Down’ (EXCLUSIVE)

BERLIN — Handled by TF1 Studio, Freddie Highmore heist thriller “Way Down” has pre-sold most of the world’s key distribution territories.

At Berlin, TF1 Studio licensed Latin America with Joao Worcman’s Rio de Janeiro-based Synapse Distribution, which will release the theatrical feature, directed by Jaume Balgueró (“[REC]”) in collaboration with Ledafilms.

Central Europe (Prorom Media Trade), Israel (Tulip Entertainment), Thailand (Sahamongkol Film), and Benelux (Dutch Film Works) also closed at Berlin.

Unannounced sales on the Spain-set but English-language title take in South Korea (Noori Pictures) and CIS (Top Film Distribution/Megogo).

TF1 Studio has also pre-sold Greece (Spentzos), Portugal (Nos Lusomundo), airlines (Cinesky), China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (A Really Happy Film), Philippines (Pioneer Films), Indonesia (Prima Cinema) and the Middle East (Italia Films).

Japan, Italy and Poland are in discussion. The U.S. distribution strategy is being discussed and will be finalized before the Cannes Festival, said Sabine Chemaly, who heads up TF1 Studio as EVP International Sales.

First distribution arrangements, with Sony Entertainment for Spain and Germany’s SquareOne Entertainment, were revealed at Cannes last year. TF1 Studio will handle the movie’s French domestic distribution. Pathé Films has acquired rights for Switzerland.

Originally announced at last year’s Berlinale, “Way Down” represents a pioneering co-production between two of Europe’s biggest commercial-sector media corporations, France’s TF1 Group and Spain’s Mediaset España, aimed at making a high-end international thriller that can compete in scale and production value with most all independent movies being brought onto the market from the U.S.

Key to that concept of course is the presence of Highmore himself, star of ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” the biggest U.S. scripted series export of 2018.

Co-starring Liam Cunningham, Sir Davos Seaworth in “Game of Thrones,” and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Syrena in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Way Down” kicks off in the U.K. as Highmore’s character, Thom, just out of university and bored by his job prospects, receives a proposal from art dealer Walter (Cunningham) to steal a legendary lost treasure from the Bank of Spain, while its staff is distracted by the 2010 soccer World Cup final, featuring Spain’s national team.

The Bank of Spain has no blueprints, however; and its security system boasts an underground river that floods the safe room if anyone succeeds in breaching it…..

Berlinale sales followed a presentation at last week’s Berlin European Film Market by TF1’s Chemaly and Ghislain Barrois, CEO of Telecinco Cinema, Mediaset España’s film arm, whose credits include “The Impossible” and “A Monster Calls” from “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” director J.A. Bayona, and Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

At the EFM sneak peak, targeting distributors who had bought the title and potential new buyers, Chemaly and Barrois unveiled the movie’s opening scene and, to show more of the story, excerpts from scenes where Highmore’s character joins the heist team.

One aim, said Chemaly, was to show clients that Highmore, though an engineering genius in “Way Down,” plays a very different character to his autist savant in “The Good Doctor.”

Barrois set out the release strategy for Spain, where the film opens Nov. 27, promotional materials, and the potential for cross promotion of the movie during June’s UEFA Euro 2020 soccer tournament.

The pre-sales keep “Way Down” on track to join the relatively select company of theatrical features from France or Spain that sell out the world.

“The film is a clever, ticking-clock heist movie, the director is fantastic, and the production values are quite amazing,” said Chemaly.

El Ranchito, whose credits include “Jack Ryan” and “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” supplies FX work on “Way Down.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Rita And Tom Hanks Coronavirus

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Return to U.S. After Coronavirus Diagnosis in Australia

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are back home in the U.S. after they revealed they had contracted coronavirus and were quarantined in Australia. Hanks gave an update on Twitter Saturday morning, thanking everyone who had helped them in Australia and assuring people that they are still isolating themselves in the U.S. “Hey, folks…We’re home now [...]

  • Film Comment Magazine Goes on Hiatus

    Film Comment Magazine to Go on Hiatus as Film at Lincoln Center Lays Off Half of Staff

    Many companies are being financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Film at Lincoln Center is the latest organization to have to lay off employees and pause some of their operations. On Friday, executive director Lesli Klainberg released a memo announcing that the center had to furlough or lay off about half of its [...]

  • "Birds of Prey" egg sandwich

    'Birds of Prey' Actor Bruno Oliver Recreates Harley Quinn's Famous Sandwich

    When actor Bruno Oliver booked the role of short order cook Sal in “Birds of Prey: (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” he had no idea how significant Sal and his breakfast sandwich were to the story. “You couldn’t tell from the audition necessarily and as actors, we always worry about our scenes [...]

  • Minyan

    'Minyan': Film Review

    Best known for the unexpectedly soul-shattering San Francisco suicide doc “The Bridge,” indie filmmaker Eric Steel came out and came of age in 1980s New York at a moment just before AIDS devastated the city’s gay community. Such timing must have been surreal, to assume something so liberating about one’s own identity, only to watch [...]

  • Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches

    Film New Roundup: Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches North American Distribution

    In today’s film news roundup, “The Queen’s Corgi” finds a home, the Overlook Film Festival is postponed and the California Film Commission adjusts its tax credit rules due to the coronavirus. ACQUISITION Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the animated family comedy feature “The Queen’s Corgi,” and plans to make it available on DVD and to [...]

  • APA Logo

    APA Sets Salary Cuts and Furloughs in Wake of Covid-19 Pandemic

    Following in the steps of several agencies dealing with the coronavirus, APA has informed all offices of upcoming salary cuts along with possible suspensions and furloughs for employees due to the pandemic’s economic effect on the industry. APA board of directors will make the largest financial sacrifice. The move has been made to avoid layoffs [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content