EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: Well, it took all day, but I can tell you that The Weinstein Company is now in an exclusive negotiation and will close a U.S. distribution deal on a bitter bidding battle for The Coup, the John Erick Dowdle-directed thriller that stars Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan. I’d written yesterday that TWC was considered the frontrunner, but it was an all-day battle for the Bold Films picture that pitted TWC against Relativity. TWC has until early tomorrow evening to close a deal expected to land $5 million and that makes it the second-biggest acquisition of the Cannes market behind the whopping $20 million that Paramount paid for Story Of Your Life. The hope is to give it a wide release late winter or early spring. Deal is being papered now by WME Global’s Graham Taylor, who was also in the middle of that Story Of Your Life deal (with FilmNation’s Glen Basner), and Nightcrawler (done with CAA). Nightcrawler, which closed with Open Road last night for $4.5 million, is also a Bold Films-backed production, so that company has also had a hot hand. Sierra/Affinity is selling both The Coup and Nightcrawler, a task that will be much easier for Nick Meyer with wide release domestic deals in place.
This is the culmination of a dealmaking marathon for Harvey Weinstein, David Glasser and their team, as they also landed Sing Street, the John Carney-directed Irish movie that he’ll make with U2′s Bono and The Edge.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, May 16, 11:17 am PST: Buyers have begun pulling out their wallets. I’m told that the bidding is up to $6 million for U.S. rights on The Coup, the John Erick Dowdle-directed thriller that stars Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan. The Weinstein Company is the front-runner, but it is battling it out right now with Relativity, with Paramount a lurking dark horse. Open Road had also been in the mix, but it sounds like it’s now between the other three. The movie is backed by Bold Films and was scripted by the director and his brother Drew, who also produced. It is about an American family that relocates to Southeast Asia, only to find themselves in the middle of a violent coup. They struggle to find an escape route because the new parties in control are executing foreigners as quickly as they can round them up. WME Global is in the thick of the auction right now.
Related: Cannes 2014: A Look At Hot Titles
This comes as distributors are up to $4 million on the Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer Nightcrawler, with The Weinstein Company, Focus Features and Open Road in the mix and A24 and Fox Searchlight circling. Paramount got the fest market off to a flying start when it spent $20 million for North American and Chinese rights to the Denis Villenueve-directed science fiction tale Story Of Your Life, starring Amy Adams.
The action on The Coup is based in buyers seeing 11 minutes of footage, along with a trailer. This one could well be wrapped up before everyone heads off to tonight’s parties on the Croisette.
In other deals done today, A24 acquired U.S. rights to Atom Egoyan’s Competition title The Captive and the Ewan McGregor Aussie thriller Son Of A Gun, both deals in conjunction with partner DirecTV. Also, Sony Pictures Classics bought U.S rights to another Competition entry, Wild Tales, Argentinian filmmaker Damián Szifron darkly comic story of tragedy, love, deception, the past, and violence lurking beneath the surface of the everyday. Pedro Almodóvar counts among the producers of the pic, which will go out through Warner Bros in Argentina on August 14.