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Cannes: Studiocanal’s ‘Radioactive,’ ’Russian Spy’ Nearly Sell Out International (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 5/25/2017 John Hopewell
© Provided by Variety

CANNES —  European film-TV powerhouse Studiocanal has nearly sold out in international at Cannes on its two big new English-language projects: Working Title-produced “Radioactive,” director Marjane Satrapi’s story of the loves, life and lasting importance of Marie Curie; and “The Tracking of a Russian Spy,” produced by The Picture Company and directed by Nima Nourizadeh (“Project X”).

In further business, Studiocanal’s two new French productions, the Gilles Lellouch-directed “Sink or Swim” and mainstream comedy “Marry Me, Dude” have proved market breakouts, pre-selling much of the world, a feat for French-language movies.

The robust business on Studiocanal’s Cannes market debutants proves that there is still a global market for high-profile larger upscale movies with pedigree producers. It also underscores something of a late surge in business announcements at Cannes this year, driven by its big sales players, from both the U.S. and Europe – and that much of the upsurge in trading is coming from Asia.

“Beyond Europe, which is our strategic core territory and quite dynamic this year, Asia – especially China, Japan and South East Asia – really stood out at this year’s Cannes market,” said Anna Marsh, Studiocanal exec VP, international distribution.

Deals with Gussi for all Latin America on three of Studiocanal’s big four new titles at Cannes “show that Studiocanal’s films not only speak to European audiences but resonate beyond Europe,” Marsh added.

Studiocanal will distribute directly “Radioactive” and “The Tracking of a Russian Spy” via its own powerful distribution operations in the U.K., France, Germany and Australia/New Zealand.

On “Radioactive,” Studiocanal clinched a key sale for China with Huayi Brothers. Japan’s Kino took all four new Cannes titles, as did Svensk on three for Scandinavia, via its output deal with Studiocanal. Gussi acquired “Radioactive,” “Russian Spy” and “Marry Me, Dude.” In all, on both of its big English-language projects, Studiocanal has clinched distribution in eight of the world’s key 10 theatrical movie markets for international productions.

Four further distributors – Indonesia’s PT Amero, Philippines’ Pioneer, Iceland’s Myndform and Middle East’s Salim Ramia – closed all four Studiocanal titles.

On “Radioactive,” Studiocanal also made a “very good sale” to Poland, with Monolith, – natural given Marie Curie’s Polish origins. Further deals on “Radioactive” went down for Hong Kong (Golden Scene), Singapore (Shaw), Switzerland (Impuls, which has an output del with Studiocanal), ex-Yugoslavia (Blitz), Malaysia (Tanweer), Taiwan (Catchplay), Portugal (Lusomundo), Israel (Forum), India (Pictureworks) and airlines (Cinesky).

Satrapi attended Cannes to set out her vision of “Radioactive.”

“This film about one of the most important of women, Marie Curie, played by a very powerful actress, Rosamund Pike, is directed by another woman, Marjane Satrapi. I think this very feminine package proved really exciting for distributors,” said Anne Cherel, Studiocanal head of intl. sales, current films.

In further deals on “The Tracking of a  Russian Spy,” the suspense thriller was also licensed to Eastern Europe (Vertical), Hong Kong (Golden Scene), Singapore (Shaw), Switzerland (Impuls), airlines (Cinesky), Malaysia (Tanweer), Taiwan (Catchplay), Portugal (Lusomundo) and South Africa – (Times Media).

Alex Heinemen and Andrew Rona accompanied Nourizadeh to Cannes at the beginning of the market, where the director explained how he aims to renew the the espionage thriller genre with “Russian Spy.”

“This is a real love story, not a pure spy story, which makes the film more interesting for a broader audience, not just a male audience,” Cherel said.

Maybe the biggest surprise on Studiocanal’s slate was buddy comedy “Marry Me, Dude,” the directorial debut of “” and “Babysitting 2’s” co-star, Tarek Boudali, about a Moroccan male student in Paris who stages a fake wedding with best Fred, in order to stay in France.

In more sales, Studiocanal closed China (Red Appolo), Italy (Koch Media), Spain (Vertigo), Eastern Europe (Prorom), Airlines (Pictureworks), CIS (Volga), Greece (Spentzos), Taiwan (Applause), Portugal (Cinemundo) and Poland (Kinoswiat). Screened near to completion at Cannes, “Marry Me, Dude” has also sparked huge interest in remake deals, from Italy to India, Cherel said.

Produced by Alain Attal’s prestigious Paris-based Les Productions du Trésor (“Little White Lies”) and Chi-Fou-Mi Productions, “Sink or Swim” was also licensed by Studiocanal to Spain (Flins y Peliculas), airlines (EIM), Greece (Spentzos)

India (Pictureworks), Poland (Kinoswiat), Taiwan (Moviecloud) and Portugal (Outsider).

Movie packs a star-spangled French ensemble cast – Mathieu Amalric (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), Guillaume Canet (“Next Time I’ll Aim For the Heart”), and Virginie Efira, just cast in Paul Verhoeven’s “Blessed Virgin.” The drama-comedy turns on a motley crew of 40-year-old men who find a new zest for life forming a synchronized swimming team.

Studiocanal is almost sold out on “Back to Burgundy,” with a deal closing for China at Cannes, and secured around 10 more territory deals on “Gauguin,” played by Vincent Cassel (“The Black Swan”).

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