"Monsters University" (dir. Dan Scanlon)
Cast: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren
The presence of some kind of animated studio blockbuster at Cannes in the last few years has been a constant, with "Up," two "Kung Fu Panda" films," "Over The Hedge" and "Madagascar 3" all unspooling there. This year there are a few options: DreamWorks' "Turbo" is possible, but it doesn't hit until July, and there's Fox's "Epic," but the studio don't have the previous form of its competitors (though it's not an impossible idea). That makes "Monsters University" probably the most likely. Pixar's latest hits about four weeks after the festival, so it's close enough to get a boost from a Cannes showing, and the festival's shown that they're not averse to animated sequels.
"Star Trek Into Darkness" (dir. J.J. Abrams)
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Benedict Cumberbatch
The number of blockbusters getting a Croisette premiere tends to vary from year to year, and "The Great Gatsby" certainly ticks that box if there's only one. But if there's another, "Star Trek Into Darkness" could be viable. It opens in the U.K. on May 9th before hitting the U.S. a few days after the festival gets underway, so a big premiere there could give it a good boost into the domestic release. There have been rumors that something's in the works, which Deadline says isn't the case, but given the J.J. Abrams secrets factory, it could yet turn out to be bonafide. And oh yeah, jury president Steven Spielberg is total buds with the director.
“Under the Skin” (dir. Jonathan Glazer)
Cast: Scarlett Johansson
There are few films we have been as (im)patiently waiting for as Jonathan Glazer’s long awaited next feature, “Under the Skin,” following his tremendously underrated 2004 effort “Birth.” Filming began in the fall of 2011, reshoots took place in the fall of 2012, and we’re guessing the VFX work also caused some delays. But could this now, finally, be finished? Word around the picture has been dead quiet, so the status is a bit of a question mark, but we’d love to see Glazer return triumphant, with a truly unique alien movie under his arm, by premiering the picture at Cannes. Then again, "Birth" was a Venice premiere, so maybe that's more likely?
“A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence” (dir. Roy Andersson)
Cast: Nisse Vestblom, Holger Andersson
It’s coming on six years since Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson’s “You, The Living.” While never known for being the fastest director (seven years passed between “Songs From The Second Floor” and ‘Living’) this capper to his trilogy is notable for being shot digitally (a technique that funders Nordisk Film said would make production go much faster...back in 2010...) But what’s the status? He’s been talking about it for years, and filming is apparently happening or has happened, and while 2014 is probably more likely, this could also surprise everyone by quietly sneaking into the lineup.
"Blood Ties" (dir. Guillaume Canet)
Cast: Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts
While director Guillaume Canet has never had his films figure into the Cannes lineup, the status of "Blood Ties" as a remake of the French-language "Les liens du sang," has the benefit of recent festival favorites like Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts in the cast, and perhaps most crucially, a script co-written by James Gray. Assuming "Lowlife" makes the lineup, does that make it more likely that "Blood Ties" makes the cut alongside it? From what we've heard, an early cut of the movie is done, with a bit more post-production work to go, so it sounds like it's nearing the finish line.
"Abus de faiblesse" (dir Catherine Breillat)
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Kool Shen
Catherine Breillat has been absent from Cannes for her last few films, with her fairy tale pictures "Bluebeard" and "Sleeping Beauty" bowing instead at Berlin and Venice. But tackling more personal material with "Abus de faiblesse" (about her relationship with con-man Christophe Rocancourt), the stage could be set for a return to the Croisette, especially with festival favorite Isabelle Huppert starring. Shooting didn't get underway til October, so it'd be a tough turnaround (Venice may be the better bet), but not an impossible one.
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Chiara Mastrioanni, Lola Creton
Claire Denis has been something of a favorite at the Venice Film Festival in recent years – everything she's made in the last decade premiered on the Lido. But she is, of course, French, and had some of her greatest early successes, including "Chocolat," at Cannes. Might her latest film see her first return to the festival since "Trouble Every Day" in 2001? It shot last August, so it should be ready in time, and it's certainly one of the most eagerly anticipated foreign-language films of the year. Venice is probably still the safe bet, but given the recent change of artistic directorship there, Cannes seems like a possibility.
"Out of the Furnace" (dir. Scott Cooper)
Cast: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker
Muscular American crime movies have always been popular at Cannes, and with films like "Drive," "Lawless," "Killing Them Softly," "Mud" and "The Paperboy" all premiering at the festival in the last few years, it seems that they're particularly to selectors' tastes at the moment. So "Out of the Furnace" might be a good bet in 2013. While Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart") doesn't have any previous work with the festival, he's got plenty of acclaim, and the film's been done for a while (there was talk of releasing it late in 2012). And with Christian Bale and Zoe Saldana among the cast, it'd bring some star wattage, too.