Tom Hanks, Jodie Comer, Olivia Colman, David Cronenberg and Richard Linklater lead projects in a Cannes 2022 pre-sales market that looks set to be the most buoyant in years, while ushering in what is being hailed as a new era in licensing of global rights.
“We are very optimistic, we expect a fairly busy market with lots of titles, the first real market after the pandemic,” said Martin Moszkowicz of Constantin Film.
“Several distributors have told me that this Cannes will be the biggest project market for several years – in volume and quality,” said Cecile Gaget at Anton, which sells the Jodie Comer-directed apocalyptic thriller ‘The End We Start From “.
Several larger packages hit the market late last week. “People are aware that there could still be a lot of things to come,” Anne Cherel told Studiocanal, which unveiled a hot project over the weekend, the comedy “Wicked Little Letters”, featuring Olivia Colman. and Jessie Buckley.
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Sony Pictures has just bought the American rights to “Here”, sold by Miramax, bringing together Robert Zemeckis, Eric Roth and Hanks from “Forrest Gump”.
AGC Studios will present Richard Linklater’s action-comedy “Hitman,” starring Glenn Powell and Adria Arjona, from a “very commercial script”, says AGC’s Stuart Ford, as well as a true horror tale detective “The Dating Game”, with Anna Kendrick.
Studiocanal salutes Joe Keery and Liam Neeson with “Cold Storage,” a humorous sci-fi horror film, said Studiocanal’s Chloé Marquet.
Guy Pearce stars in Mister Smith’s ‘The Convert’, described as an epic action-thriller set in the Maori wars of the 1830s, “sort of like Maori ‘last of the Mohicans'”, says David Garrett by Mister Smith.
David Cronenberg directs Vincent Cassel in the FilmNation thriller “The Shrouds.” Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche star in “The Return”, from Hanway Films.
Meanwhile, Russell Crowe teams up with Liam Hemsworth on Highland Film Group’s action thriller ‘Land of Bad’. Beckinsale plays in the spy “Canary Black”, by Anton.
Keaton is headlining and directing the noir thriller “Knox Goes Away; Harrelson is directing the fact-based rescue “Deep Breath,” and Bill Skarsgård is directing the reboot of “The Crow,” all three FilmNation titles.
Yet Cannes 2022 feels less like a throwback to 2019 and more like a complete reset, accelerated by streaming, political shifts, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
“The independent financing landscape for this type of mid- to high-budget international action film is currently challenging,” Ford said, citing the unavailability of bankable talent, ongoing additional COVID costs and, most importantly, the reduction in the presale potential in a number. of territories as well as the current lack of distribution or capital investment agreements from Russia and China in particular.
“A lot of the major producers-financiers recognize that the sweet spot in this particular Cannes market could be more films in the $20-30 million budget range,” he added.
International trade has also “recently entered a new phase of global rights licensing,” Ford noted.
“Distributors have had to adapt over the past two years and have shown a lot of flexibility. We have seen new models emerge that will remain in the future. Everyone learned to work together rather than against each other,” observed Chloé Marquet of Studiocanal.
The market is increasingly mixed, with sales agents looking to land theater in larger parts of Europe, or streamers or TV, even by region or territory by territory, Moszkowicz noted.
“Today, anything is possible. Any configuration,” Garrett said. “We need to release films that we believe appeal to both theatrical buyers and platforms, although streamers tend to seek out more genre-focused content: action thriller, comedy, romantic comedy, sci-fi,” he added.
During the pandemic, major international distributors have significantly adapted their release strategies and buying approach so that they are somewhat less reliant on U.S. or even local theatrical performances, Ford observed. This “creates a more even ground alongside the seven to eight hungry global streaming buyers. There is definitely more balance in the market.
A new era still raises many questions. One is streamer acquisition strategies. “We could have some surprises in Cannes,” Gaget said. New players like MGM-Amazon and Warner-HBO are in a good position to acquire material while Netflix and Amazon may be more passive.
Supported by a powerful new streaming ancillary, sSome distributors are bullish on acquisitions. Last year, IFC Films came to Cannes with a pair of competing films already on its lineup, such as “Benedetta,” “Paris, 13th Arrondissement” and “Bergman Island.” This year, said IFC’s Arianna Bocco, the company is actively planning for 2023 and could buy “one or two big movies.”
IFC Films is having an “opportunistic good time,” she added. “Now we are entering Cannes with more influence and a mindset that we are a powerhouse and not just an independent.”