Cannes sales sluggish

24 reports that the Cannes International Film Festival has got off to a slow start in terms of sales, with many of the high profile titles having already secured US distribution prior to the Festival, which commenced on 17 May.

One buyer commented that Cannes concentrates on art films rather than commercial films that will appeal to American audiences. However, it is expected that films such as Southland Tales from Donnie Darko director Richard Kelley and Lying, starring Choe Sevigny, will be sought after by buyers. The North American rights to the Jack Black comedy, Be Kind Rewind, have been picked up by New Line. Additionally, Focus has acquired the North American rights to the stop-motion film, Coraline, from Laika Entertainment. Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, the story centres on a young girl, voiced by Dakota Fanning, who passes through a secret door into an alternative version of her life.

There is a big Asian presence at Cannes this year, 23% up on last year. The Far East firms now account for 16% of all companies at Cannes, the biggest single contingent outside the US, which makes up 17% of all participating companies.

Overall, attendance is growing, and market organisers expect to break the record figure of 10 000 participants this year.
“What’s even more amazing is the number of new and premiering films we have this year. It’s about 70% of the total (4,471) at the market,” said Jerome Paillard, the market’s managing director. “We had 3 000 films in 2005 and this year we have 4000.”

For the first time, Cannes boasts digital screening facilities – six theaters, including four new facilities at the Gray d’Albion Hotel.

Meanwhile, the Festival’s opening night film, the much-hyped The Da Vinci Code, was not well received by critics, with guffaws of laughter reportedly greeting the film’s “big reveal” scene.


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