By Joe Cunningham | The Playlist May 23, 2012 at 11:41AM
When movies aren’t being watched at the Cannes Film Festival, they’re being purchased, and we’ve got news of a couple that have been picked up for North American distribution.
First up is Pablo Larrain’s “No,” which has been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. Larrain’s most notable feature to date was probably his “Saturday Night Fever”-inspired serial killer flick “Tony Manero,” but thanks to having Gael Garcia Bernal in the lead role (and a strong Cannes reception) “No” may be about to eclipse his previous efforts. The film, which has been screening in Director’s Fortnight, is based on the true story of a brash, young advertising exec (Bernal) who in 1988 launched an audacious plan to win over Chilean voters in a referendum on the presidency of their military dictator, General Augusto Pinochet. That immediately sounds like a fascinating premise to us, our reviewer on the Croisette loved it, and we’re happy to hear that wider audiences will be given the chance to see it. Sony hasn’t stated when and how they plan to release it yet, but we’re hoping that Bernal’s name will lend it some much-needed clout. [Deadline]
Meanwhile, Ben Wheatley (who terrified you last year with his sophomore effort “Kill List”) has secured North American distribution for his latest film, “Sightseers,” through IFC Films (who also released “Kill List”). The film, which boasts Edgar Wright among its exec producers, centers around a young couple (Alice Lowe and Steve Oram – who also penned the screenplay) on a caravan trip across the UK countryside whose ideal holiday faces a number of interruptions before taking a very wrong turn. We’d be very surprised if this is received as well as “Kill List,” and that took less than $30k in the US, but this does seem a little more accessible, so perhaps Wheatley’s growing reputation, and the name of Wright on board, will help it surpass that gross. We’d imagine that this is the kind of film which does most of its business on VoD and DVD, and would expect that IFC will think the same. We'll have our verdict on the film, which screens at Cannes tonight, very soon. [Screen Daily]
Also picking up films while in the South of France is distributor eOne, which has struck a deal with the UK's Vertigo for both cop actioner "The Sweeney," with Ray Winstone, Ben Drew, Damian Lewis and Hayley Attwell, and Viking picture "Hammer of the Gods," which stars Charlie Bewley ("Like Crazy"). And while they were at it, they've also teamed with RKO Pictures for "A Late Quartet," a classical-music themed drama with the hugely impressive cast of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken and Imogen Poots. The film will hit in the fall, presumably with an awards run in mind. [Screen Daily/Deadline]