Mike Fleming

This turned out to be the first big bidding battle of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which is now winding down. The Weinstein Company won out after sparking to the seven-minute teaser reel shown to buyers during the fest, outbidding others including Focus Features. Now it will join the distributor’s already bursting awards-season slate that includes Sundance winner Fruitvale Station, August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, Long Walk To Freedom with Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela, the Lee Daniels-directed The Butler, Grace Of Monaco with Nicole Kidman, and the Shane Salerno-directed documentary Salinger. Here’s the official release:

CANNES (May 23, 2013) – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today from the 2013 Cannes Film Festival that they are acquiring distribution rights in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Spain to director Stephen Frears’ (HIGH FIDELITY, THE QUEEN) dramedy PHILOMENA. Seven minutes of the film were shown to buyers in Cannes on May 16th, with TWC outbidding a number of other studios vying for rights. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope penned the screenplay, which is based on the 2009 novel The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith. The project stars Judi Dench (NOTES ON A SCANDAL, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL) and Coogan (THE TRIP, WHAT MAISIE KNEW) and was produced by Coogan, Tracey Seaward and Gabrielle Tana. Baby Cow’s Henry Normal, BBC Films’ Christine Langan, Pathé’s Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken and Magnolia Mae Films’ Carolyn Marks Blackwood executive produced.

PHILOMENA is the true story of an Irish woman who searches for the illegitimate son she gave up for adoption in the U.S. TWC will release the film in Fall 2013.

The deal was negotiated by David Glasser, Mark Gooder, Dan Guando, Michal Steinberg and Robert Walak for TWC and was sold by Pathe’s Cameron McCracken and Muriel Sauzay.

“I am delighted to be working again with my dear friends Judi Dench and Stephen Frears,” commented Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairman of TWC. “We have had great successes in the past together and I have always enjoyed the collaboration. PHILOMENA is a brilliant project and we are excited to bring it to theaters this fall.”

Said director Frears: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Harvey and TWC on board with this film.”

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