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Neon Buys Ruben Östlund’s Satire ‘Triangle of Sadness’ Following Cannes Film Festival Debut

triangle of sadness
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Neon has bought Ruben Östlund’s satire “Triangle of Sadness” in one of the biggest deals to close on a Cannes Film Festival official selection title.

30West and WME handled domestic rights to the comedy, which stars Woody Harrelson as a rabid Marxist who is the captain of a cruise for the super rich. According to insiders, the asking price was close to $8 million. Several top-tier buyers, including A24, were circling the movie.

Sweden’s leading contemporary filmmaker and producer, Östlund was previously at the festival with “Force Majeure” in 2014 and “The Square,” which won the Palme d’Or in 2017. “Triangle of Sadness” marks his English-language debut.

“Triangle of Sadness” earned a rowdy eight-minute standing ovation following a lively screening punctuated by hysterical laugher, which Östlund later described as being like a “football game.”

Variety’s Peter Debruge called the film “wickedly funny,” writing: “There’s a meticulous precision to the way [Östlund] constructs, blocks and executes scenes — a kind of agonizing unease, amplified by awkward silences or an unwelcome fly buzzing between characters struggling to communicate.”

Harrelson revealed during Sunday’s press conference that he will also star in Östlund’s next project, “The Entertainment System Is Down,” another social satire that is in early development.

At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Neon brought David Cronenberg’s gruesome body horror film “Crimes of The Future,” starring Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen, as well as Brett Morgen’s experiential, genre-defying “Moonage Daydream,” chronicling the career of David Bowie. The company has also acquired Kore-eda Hirokazu’s “Broker” ahead of its world premiere and Mark Jenkin’s horror film “Enys Men.”

“Triangle of Sadness” was produced by Östlund’s outfit Platform, in co-production with Essential Films, Coproduction Office, Sveriges Television, ZDF/ARTE, ARTE France Cinéma and TRT Sinema, in association with Film i Väst, BBC Films and 30 West. Producers are Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober. Coproduction Office is repping international sales and pre-sold the film around the world.

Neon’s Jeff Deutchman negotiated the North America deal with 30West, WME Independent and Imperative Entertainment on behalf of the filmmakers.