By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 20, 2009 at 9:24AM
Continuing their buying jag, IFC acquired Lars von Trier's Antichrist, which made quite a splash at Cannes, sparking controversy and debate. UPDATE: IFC had told me the director was willing to make trims on the film. IFC confirms that they are going to review the film again, but that the plan leaving Cannes was to show the uncut version in theaters (there are very few that can/will play it) and Trier's "Catholic" version on VOD. (See this story and this one. IFC, which is owned by publicly held Rainbow Media, has the option of going unrated.) IFC released Trier's last two films.
The distributor also acquired U.S. rights to Ken Loach's Cannes competition title Looking for Eric, which played well here, starring soccer's Eric Cantona. IFC had released Loach's Palm d'Or winner The Wind that Shakes the Barley. At the fest, IFC also bought Romanian director Cristian Mungiu's omnibus film, Tales From the Golden Age. They had released his Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days.
It's easy pickings these days for distributors Sony Pictures Classics, IFC and Magnolia, who describe a plethora of available movies being offered to them for extremely low fees, if anything. Movies hoping to score substantial minimum guarantees are having a much harder time. It is unlikely that the $50 million Agora, for example, or Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus are going to score the cash they were looking for. And many films that screened in the market, either footage or entire films, did not sell either.
The good news is that the world market, while it has become local again--it is no longer possible to sell a B-movie from any given country to other markets around the world--has become more liquid since February's Berlin film festival. High quality A projects and movies with stars are still in demand. There is some high technology money as well as funding in Asia and the Middle East.