Screenwriters’ strike casts cloud over bargaining – The Hollywood Reporter

Screenwriters’ strike casts cloud over bargaining – The Hollywood Reporter

Unusually cold and rainy weather in Cannes this year didn’t dampen business, but the writers’ strike came like a storm cloud, threatening a deluge.

There were plenty of offers, big and small, at the Cannes Film Market, which drew more than 13,500 attendees this year, an all-time high, surpassing pre-pandemic numbers. As the market drew to a close, Netflix landed an eight-figure deal for North America to may december, the comedy-drama directed by Todd Haynes with Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman. The pickup, worth $11 million, is a domestic-only, non-global deal, a setup that was once rare but could become increasingly common as streamers focus more on individual territories and regions. local audiences. CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group manage domestic rights for may decemberwith Rocket Science to negotiate international agreements.

Sony has reached a major agreement for Paddington in Peru, the third film in the family franchise featuring the South American teddy bear, signing a deal with StudioCanal to take on North America and most of the world, excluding Russia, China and Japan. Studiocanal, which is entirely financing the film and producing with Heyday Films, will release Paddington 3 in the UK, France, Germany, Benelux, Australia/New Zealand and Poland. The first two Paddington The films were a huge commercial and critical success for Studiocanal, earning over $500 million at the worldwide box office. The deal was a coup for Sony, which snatched the rights from Warner Bros., which had handled the last two films.

The studio’s specialty division, Sony Pictures Classics, secured the rights in North America, as well as Latin America, Scandinavia, South Korea and several other territories, for the animated feature. They shot the pianist by Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, the couple behind the Oscar nominee Chico & Rita. The Bossa Nova-themed film, narrated by Jeff Goldblum, follows a New York music journalist who sets out to find the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of young Brazilian piano virtuoso Tenorio Jr. SPC is positioning the film for release of awards season.

The specialty market in the United States has struggled lately, with few independent films being released in the country, the mega-hit Everything everywhere all at once being a notable exception. But hope is eternal and Neon was active in Cannes, picking up the US rights to the crime thriller Anatomy of a fall, written and directed by French filmmaker Justine Triet. Neon has also signed a deal with Elle Driver for the North American rights to Robot dreamsthe Spanish animated feature film by Snow White director Pablo Berger, which had a special screening at the festival on May 20. Based on the graphic novel by Sara Varon, the film is set in 1980s New York and follows a dog from Manhattan, called DOG, who, tired of being alone, decides to build a companion robot himself, named ROBOT. .

Music Box Films has secured the U.S. rights to Barbara Kulcsar’s hit Swiss tragicomedy Gthe old years with German sales company Beta Cinema, in a deal that will see Music Box release the film in the US later this year. Briarcliff Entertainment has acquired the US rights to Thieves Den 2: Panterasequel to 2018’s Gerard Butler action thriller, from eOne with plans to hit theaters in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Several large packages – including Ric Roman Waugh’s thriller sequel with Sylvester Stallone, which Rocket Science and CAA Media Finance are selling, and Guy Ritchie’s still untitled new Black Bear International movie starring Henry Cavill, Jake Gyllenhaal and Eiza González — have generated significant heat, including wars auction in certain territories, and are expected to sell worldwide. “There were a lot of good projects this time around, solid commercial films,” noted Dirk Schweizer of Splendid Films in Germany. “But the bid prices are still very high. We’ll see where the deals end up in the end.

Don’t mention the strike.

News that Aziz Ansari Chance, a hot title in the Cannes market sold by Lionsgate, was halted indefinitely after its filming in Los Angeles’ Koreatown was halted by Writers Guild of America picketing, which chilled the Market. Protesters forced the Keanu Reeves-Seth Rogen movie to shut down on May 18, and it’s unclear when the comedy will be able to resume filming. Buyers are increasingly concerned that the projects they are bidding on are just as vulnerable.

More worrying is the threat of a multi-union strike. Less than a week before the Cannes market opens on May 10, the Directors Guild of America entered contract talks and the SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors voted to recommend members authorize a strike before its own negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture. and television producers, who negotiate on behalf of the studios.

News that director Pawel Pawlikowski The Island, which would star Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara, shut down on the eve of production worries the independent industry. The film, backed by FilmNation, WME Independent, Vision Distribution and Wildside, was apparently unable to secure a bond as the bond companies were unwilling to take on the risk of a potential SAG-AFTRA strike halting production.

“It’s not a question of money, since we only pay when the film is delivered”, notes a European distributor. “But if it all stops, eventually we’ll run out of movies.”

A version of this story appears in the May 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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