Stars draw public, but market brings money to Cannes

May 24 2014, 20:49 IST
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Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan arrive at the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS benefit at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, during the 67th international film festival, in Cap d'Antibes, southern France. AP/PTI Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan arrive at the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS benefit at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, during the 67th international film festival, in Cap d'Antibes, southern France. AP/PTI
SummaryMovie sales, deals struck are what that keep the Mediterranean sea town awash in money.

While attention in Cannes is focused on film premieres and stars on the red carpet, movie sales and deals struck by high rollers and bit players are what keep the Mediterranean seaside town awash in money.

Eighteen film titles ranging from 83-year-old French director Jean-Luc Godard's "Adieu au Langage" (Goodbye to Language) to 25-year-old Canadian director Xavier Dolan's "Mommy" are competing for the top Palme d'Or prize that will be announced on Saturday night.

But that is just a drop in the bucket compared to what festival officials estimate are some 5,000 films shown here, in complete form or as trailers, to potential buyers or investors.

There were fewer big-budget Hollywood titles in the Cannes market this year, but Jerome Paillard, chief executive of the Marche du Film (Film Market), sees that as cyclical.

"It's not necessarily a short-term threat because most of the business we do isn't on those sorts of films," Paillard told Reuters in an interview.

"You know we have 5,000 titles in the market and this doesn't change. The diversity of Cannes is still there."

It's enough to attract big names, like veteran producer Harvey Weinstein, and newcomers like media mogul Haim Saban.

The Weinstein Co announced it had bought the U.S. distribution rights to the musical film "Sing Street" set in Dublin during the 1980s, with a soundtrack from U2's Bono and the Edge, for what trade publications said was $3 million.

It also struck a deal with producers Emile Sherman and Iain Canning, who were behind the global hit "The King's Speech", for worldwide rights to "Lion" about a five-year-old Indian boy who takes the wrong train and is separated from his family for decades, for a reported $12 million.

Saban, a media mogul who heads up the largest American Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision, announced the first big deal for his new Saban Films, purchasing North American rights to Tommy Lee Jones's frontier drama "The Homesman".

With deals like those and others, it wasn't so much a question of quantity as of quality, David Glasser, chief operating officer of The Weinstein Company, told Reuters.

"For The Weinstein Company I think we had an extremely fruitful and well-represented film festival," he said.

"If we're not making it, the stuff we're buying needs to look and feel and smell like a Weinstein movie and we're seeing a lot of product out there. So maybe the volume of numbers may be

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