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Weinstein Co. Dominates Cannes 2012 with Advance Pick-Ups UPDATED

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 15, 2012 at 12:44PM

As the 65th Cannes Film Festival ramps up for yet another glitzy opening on the Riviera May 16, with Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," Harvey Weinstein is showing his muscle. The French have never more adored the indie powerhouse, who scored five Oscars for "The Artist" last year, including Best Picture and Actor.
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Jeff Nichols' "Mud."

Focus Features was happy to book Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" on opening night for several reasons. One, Anderson had never gotten the Cannes treatment. There's nothing like a rousing walk up the Palais red carpet for a filmmaker. And, says James Schamus, they decided to follow the playbook established so successfully by Sony Pictures Classics last year with Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris," which opened in Europe and America right after its Cannes debut and went on to become the original screenplay Oscar-winning, highest-grossing indie title of the year. The Cannes response to "Kingdom" will suggest whether a repeat performance is in the cards.

Searchlight is at the fest with Ben Zeitlin's Louisiana bayou drama and Sundance grand jury prize winner "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and will be in the hunt for titles. Sony Pictures Classics, which acquired Michael Haneke's "Amour," starring Jean_Louis Traingnant and Emmanuelle Riva, and Jacques Audiard's "Rust & Bone," also starring Cotillard, who is supposed to be very good in it, will slug it out with IFC Films for foreign titles, scouring the fest thoroughly. IFC has already grabbed the Romanian competition film from Cristian Mungiu, "Beyond the Hills." They also handled his Oscar nominee "4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days." IFC also brought Adam Leon's Bronx-shot SXSW debut "Gimme the Loot" and Rodney Ascher's Sundance Stanley Kubrick doc "Room 237."

Magnolia Pictures, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, CBS Films, Music Box, Open Road, Oscilloscope, FilmDistrict, LD Releasing and Cohen Media, as well as studio acquisitions groups, will also be searching for a range of fare marketable in the U.S. "A whole lot of people are looking for movies," says SPC's Tom Bernard. "Everybody's got a different agenda on what they're going to do with them."

After four hours of Delta transatlantic sleep, I'm ready to engage with Cannes 65. The sun is out, the sky is blue, the wifi is speedy, I've got my pink badge. Our Indiewire apartment has about two electrical outlets as well as only two keys for four people, but we'll manage. The location is ideal, just blocks from the oceanside Croisette, about halfway between two major meeting nexuses, The Grand and The Majestic.

I've already rescheduled two meetings at The Grand, with Toronto Fest Director Cameron Bailey and Venice Fest's Guilia D'Agnolo Vallan, from today to tomorrow, and will meet the usual gang of miscreants at the Pizza tonight, a venerable Cannes tradition. Tomorrow, "Moonrise Kingdom."

This article is related to: Festivals, Festivals, Cannes, Cannes Film Festival


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.