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Cannes sellers raise prices, causing buyers to flinch

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Source : Pathe

‘Emilia Perez”

Amid an overall positive market, the familiar gripe about high asking prices has sent out a clear signal that buyers and sellers find it increasingly difficult to reconcile their financial models. This tension is particularly acute in A-list packages, where independent producers fought to attract (and pay for) talent in a world after a strike, where studios and streaming services, driven by talent agent, have made hefty offers. Sales estimates set more than a year ago, when deep-pocketed streamers were more active in the market, coupled with inflation, have also made the situation challenging.

Sellers have been aggressive on buzzy festival selections that have popped here, too.


has heard Goodfellas bumped up its $600,000 price tag on Italian rights to Jacques Audiard’s Competition entry Emilia Perez to $1m.Similarly, buyers have spoken of eye-watering asks on territories for Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance

and Mohammad Rasoulof’s The Seed Of The Sacred Fig.Neon picked up North America on Rasoulof’s film amid ongoing caution among US buyers lacking robust pay-1 deals to back big bets; a situation that also affects international buyers.San Fu Maltha of Dutch distributor Perisccop, whose market acquisitions have included the documentaries

Black Box Diaries

from Dogwoof and Hung Up On A Dream sold by Utopia, was nonetheless among several Benelux buyers ruffled by prices.“I don’t want to offer at this point,” he said. “Prices were slightly too optimistic when packages were put together two years ago, when the market was more buoyant and there was more optimism about streamer deals and distribution companies needing content… We’ve seen films hit the market and not deliver on those estimates.”UK sellers have reported a positive market, although attendance from Japan, Australia and New Zealand was believed to be soft, while the Russians have been buying. Several Hong Kong sellers said the market still had not rediscovered pre-Covid momentum, while Asian buyers in China and Singapore have been active.

Singapore independent distributor Thomas Chia’s Lighthouse Film Distribution acquired

All We Imagine As Light

, the first Indian film in competition in three decades; Media Asia clocked up new sales on-site for Hong Kong action thriller Twilight Of The Warriors: Walled In, with deals closing for South Korea (Contents Panda), India (Indo Overseas), Eastern Europe (Polemedia), and Indonesia and Cambodia (Westec Media). Todd Olsson, president of international sales at US-based Highland Film Group, reported a strong response across the slate, particularly on Justin Chadwick action thriller Sierra Madre

starring Kiefer Sutherland, and John Stalberg, Jr.’s Muzzle: City Of Wolves starring Aaron Eckhart.“This is the busiest market we have had in years,” said Olsson. “Everybody’s aggressively pursuing content.”Much talk has also centred on the state of the market ecosystem itself. TIFF announced that it will launch a content market in 2026 after it was revealed earlier this year the AFM would be moving to Las Vegas, for its 2024 edition. Last night attendees at a Marche reception heard that Ventana Sur is in exclusive talks to relocate to Uruguay later this year.

Additional reporting by Mona Tabbara, Geoffrey Macnab and Sylvia Wong

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