Cannes Cheat Sheet: What Films are Screening, Who’s Representing Distribution Rights, and Territories Taken

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As dawn breaks on the Croisette, anticipation fills the air as filmmakers, producers, sales agents, and distributors eagerly await the return to normalcy after the doldrums of recent years.

Heading into this year’s Marché du Film, producers and sales agents have reported a significant resurgence in the pre-sales market, a trend urgently needed to continue.

Given the number and quality of projects at Sundance, EFM, and on offer at Cannes there is cautious optimism heading into Cannes.

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Options Abound for International Buyers

International distributors will find themselves spoiled for choice this year. Among the standout offerings are Kevin Costner’s sprawling western epic, “Horizon: An American Saga,” (the first of a trilogy of films currently being edited at Costner’s sprawling Santa Barbara estate), and Francis Ford Coppola’s highly anticipated “Megalopolis.”

Additionally, there’s a robust selection of action thrillers, including Vin Diesel’s “Riddick: Furya” from Rocket Science and “Head Games” starring Samuel L. Jackson and Henry Golding from A Higher Standard. Mainstream audiences can look forward to John Lee Hancock’s “Monsanto” and Peter Farrelly’s “I Play Rocky,” represented by CAA Media Finance and FilmNation, respectively.

For those seeking more eclectic fare, intriguing options include the Kristen Stewart and Oscar Isaac vampire flick “Flesh of the Gods,” brought to the table by XYZ Films, and Julia Ducournau’s follow-up to “Titane,” titled “Alpha,” from FilmNation and Charades. Both promise a compelling blend of arthouse and genre elements.

The revived international market presents a refreshing contrast to the U.S., where independent filmmakers face challenges securing sales for their features despite a lengthy list of festival hits still awaiting buyers. While the situation may seem daunting domestically, there’s a glimmer of hope as Lionsgate stands out as a notable exception.

Despite the hurdles, there’s optimism as international sales executives recognize the appetite abroad for a diverse range of mainstream and genre-focused independent films.

Discover What Distributors Paid for Independent Films in the ‘Golden Age’

As the film distribution market rebounds to levels not seen in many years, understanding what distributors historically paid to acquire independent films is crucial to navigating the current market.

Domestic Rights are Wide Open on Most Films

In the wake of recent challenges in the film market, domestic distributors have shown a clear preference for uplifting comedies and documentaries, a trend notably observed at Sundance.

Although the available films at Sundance had smaller budgets and little-known casts, the sales figures surprised most sales agents who expected a very soft buying environment. As usual, there were headline-grabbing deals from the big boys, including Netflix in a $17 million deal for “It’s What’s Inside,” Searchlight picked up “A Real Pain” for $10 million, and Amazon’s MGM acquired “My Old Ass” for $15 million. Netflix also paid $11 million for “May December” late last year.

Encouragingly, there were several mid-market deals from A24, Sony Pictures Classics, Focus, IFC, Magnolia, Vertical, Bleecker Street, and Neon in the $2 million to $4 million range, which are the lifeblood of the independent market.

For domestic distributors willing to take risks, now is the opportune moment to diverge from the norm. As audiences hunger for fresh narratives, there’s a growing sentiment that simply delivering more of the same may soon fall out of favor, prompting a desire for more nuanced storytelling beyond traditional formulas.

Numerous compelling titles featured in this year’s Official Selection are generating excitement, with opportunities for acquisition wide open. Notably, respected distributors such as Neon, A24, MUBI, and Searchlight are each presenting compelling contenders in the awards race, adding to the anticipation.

Uncover What Streaming Services Pay to License Feature Films in Europe and North America

Worldwide Film & Television Distribution Intelligence

Get unparalleled access to market intelligence reports that draw on financial data and insights from dozens of content distribution deals worldwide between key industry participants.

Film and Series distribution rates and terms deriving from dozens of agreements for rights to transmit films and episodic television via PayTV and SVOD.

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Licensing Terms & Included Programs:

Pay-1 & SVOD Rate Cards for Motion Pictures and Series Exhibited Worldwide in Multiple Availability Windows

  • Motion Pictures: Pay-1, First Run, Second Window Features, Recent Library Features (Tiers AAA,A,B,C), Library Features (Tiers AAA,A,B,C), Current and Premium Made-For-TV Films and Direct-To-Video Films, covering many license periods over the last decade
  • Episodic TV: Current, Premium, Premium Catalog (1HR & 1/2HR), Catalog Series (1HR & 1/2HR), and Catalog Miniseries + Case Studies on Current Mega Hit, Catalog Mega Hit, and Premium Catalog, covering many licensing terms from 2012-2024
  • Because most-favored-nation rates operate in practice, the rates and terms apply to a diverse range of content and distributors worldwide in multiple availability windows.

FilmTake Away: Cannes Will Forecast the Strength of the Independent Film Market

As the market and festival unfold, FilmTake eagerly anticipates tracking the acquisitions of these unique films during the event and in the following days. Stay tuned as we keep you updated on all the exciting developments.