With every major festival that arrives there’s more chances for hopeful filmmakers to ink deals that would put their films in front of paying audiences, so of course with the Cannes Film Festival in full swing there’s a whole smorgasbord of distribution news.
First up is Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation” follow-up, “The Past.” Deadline is reporting that Sony Pictures Classics has picked up the U.S. rights, continuing the company’s relationship with Farhadi -- they released “A Separation” stateside. Starring Bérénice Bejo, Ali Mosaffa and “A Prophet” star Tahar Rahim, “The Past” tells the story of Iranian man who leaves his French wife and children to return to his country, and all the ramifications that decision has on the family. Though our man in Cannes was let down some by the third act, he still found the film worthwhile, calling it “mature and real in a way that dramas rarely aspire too.” Though no details are confirmed, it’s very likely “The Past” will follow the same release plan as Farhadi’s previous film did, especially if it maintains its strong word of mouth on the Croisette.
Interestingly enough, Marion Cotillard was originally scheduled to play Bejo’s role in “The Past” before she dropped out. Cotillard is doing just fine though, not only is she in two Cannes competitors -- “Blood Ties” and James Gray’s “The Immigrant” -- but one of her upcoming films has already landed a distribution deal. According to Deadline, Sundance Selects nabbed the U.S. rights to the Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne directed film “Two Days, One Night.” Starring Cotillard opposite Fabrizio Rongione and Olivier Gourmet, the film focuses on “a young woman who has only one weekend to convince her colleagues they must give up their bonuses in order for her to keep her job.” Shooting starts this summer in Belgium.
With the one-two punch of “True Grit” and “Django Unchained” -- and hopefully the big-tentpole take of “The Lone Ranger” later this summer -- are audiences finally okay with westerns again? And are they ready for a horror-western mash-up? They better be because S. Craig Zahler’s directorial debut, “Bone Tomahawk,” (per Bloody-Disgusting) has landed a distribution deal with Magnolia Pictures stateside and Constantin for “German-speaking Europe.” Starring Kurt Russell, Timothy Olyphant, Peter Sarsgaard and Jennifer Carpenter, the western “follows an outlaw who unknowingly leads a band of cannibalistic Troglodytes into the peaceful western town of Bright Hope. When the monsters kidnap several settlers, including a rancher’s wife, a small rescue party consisting of the injured rancher, the sheriff, his aging deputy and a strong-willed gunslinger, journey into hell to try and rescue them. They soon find themselves in dark unknown territories where savage inbreeds armed with the ultimate weapon leave no hope of survival.” So, “The Hills Have Eyes” meets “The Searchers?” Or “Cowboys & Cannibals?”
Deadline reports that the Jeremy Saulnier-helmed “Blue Ruin,” which unspooled at Cannes last week, has had its North American rights picked up by Radius-TWC. The film follows “a man who finds his quiet life upended by unwelcome news and subsequently sets off for his childhood home to carry out an act of revenge.” Meanwhile, though “Killing Them Softly” didn’t turn out to be the hit he needed it to be, it hasn’t slowed Andrew Dominik down. THR is reporting that his next project, the adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ fictionalized biography of Marilyn Monroe, “Blonde,” has found a backer in Worldview Entertainment. Here’s hoping Dominik finds more luck this time around.
Per THR, The Weinstein Company has locked up the stateside distribution rights to Stephen Frears’ “Philomena.” The film stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Do they have Oscar in mind? We pegged Dench as a possibility a while back, so it's entirely possible. Meanwhile Deadline reports that IFC Films has nabbed the U.S. rights to the Arie Posin-directed and Ed Harris and Annette Bening-starrer “The Face Of Love.” A fall release is planned for the film which also co-stars Robin Williams, Jess Weixler and Amy Brenneman.
Moving to spookier fare, Lionsgate will, per Deadline, distribute the supernatural thriller “The Quiet Ones.” Jared Harris and Sam Claflin star with Craig Rosenberg and Oren Moverman (“The Messengers” and “Rampart”) writing the script and John Pogue at the helm. Finally, the Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler-starring road-trip comedy “Scenic Route” has been picked up by Vertical Entertainment for an August release.