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Al Pacino’s mob boss, Nicolas Cage’s rat

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

A24 is down, Neon is unknown, Yorgos Lanthimos saves the planet, Cate Blanchett’s Scooby-Doo, and a Palme d’Or contender.

Let’s go!


CANNES TITLES GET ABDUCTED (ACQUIRED)

At the Cannes Film Festival this weekend, buyers snatched up a hoard of prestige indie films from established auteurs and newcomers.

Here’s a breakdown:

Focus Features:

  • Bugonia (worldwide rights)
    • Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos
    • Starring: Emma Stone & Jesse Plemons

Official Synopsis:

Bugonia follows two conspiracy-obsessed young men who kidnap the high-powered CEO of a major company, convinced that she is an alien intent on destroying planet Earth.

The film is an adaptation of the South Korean comedy Save the Green Planet (2003, trailer). There’s a profound wackiness that feels perfect for Lanthimos to envelop with his directorial tendrils.

Outside Cannes, Focus Features bought the international rights for a modern-day retelling of Hamlet, set in London, starring Riz Ahmed.

A24:

Östlund described the story:

“Basically right after take-off, the flight attendants realize they have a problem: the entertainment system is down. This means that the passengers are doomed to deal with their own boredom. This will be the core of the story. On a society level, what happens if we take away entertainment?”

Östlund has bought a decommissioned 747 airplane for the shoot.

Release date Cannes 2026?

Mubi:

Synopsis:

Copenhagen 1919: A young worker finds herself unemployed and pregnant. She meets Dagmar, who runs an underground adoption agency. A strong connection grows but her world shatters when she stumbles on the shocking truth behind her work.

Mubi has already acquired two other films in competition at Cannes: worldwide rights for The Substance (epic Demi Moore teaser trailer) and UK/Ireland rights for Andrea Arnold’s Bird, starring Barry Keoghan.

Neon:

  • The Unknown
    • Dir/Writer: Arthur Harari (Co-writer of Anatomy of a Fall)
    • Starring Léa Seydoux

Synopsis:

A mix of realistic urban chronicle, fantasy film, investigation, melodrama and daydream.

  • Seed of the Sacred Fig (North American Rights)
    • Dir: Mohammad Rasoulof (dir: Berlin Golden Bear winner There Is No Evil (2020)
    • In competition

Official synopsis:

Investigating judge Iman grapples with paranoia amid political unrest in Tehran. When his gun vanishes, he suspects his wife and daughters, imposing draconian measures that strain family ties as societal rules crumble.

After being sentenced to eight years in prison, Rasoulof fled Iran on foot through a mountain.

Outside the festival, Neon bought North American rights for The Monkey (Dir: Oz Perkins), starring Theo James, based on a Stephen King short story. Neon will release Perkins’s newest film, Longlegs, on July 12th.

For more:

AGC (Hit Man) has sold Sugar Bandits starring Will Smith to multiple distributors around the world for millions of dollars.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Weekend Box Office. Here are the domestic grosses:

  • $35 M – IF (Paramount)
  • $26 M – Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Studios)
    • $237.5 M Global
    • $169M budget
    • The last installment, War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), grossed $490 M worldwide
    • Trailer
  • $12M – The Strangers – Chapter 1 (Lionsgate)
  • $2.85 M – Back to Black (Studio Canal)
  • $1 M – I Saw The TV Glow (A24)

Sony and Paramount signed an NDA following Paramount and Skydance’s failure to make a deal following a 30-day exclusive negotiating window.

Sony and Apollo Global, an asset management company, had previously offered $26 bn to buy Paramount Global, but that offer is off the table. Sony is now reviewing Paramount’s financial information before making another offer. Whatever that offer will be, Sony is only interested in the movie studio, leaving Apollo to manage or sell the other assets.

If it happens, the new bid may be less favorable to Shari Redstone, president of Paramount’s parent company, who is said to be uncomfortable with breaking up Paramount.

Another challenge facing the deal is anti-trust laws that may move to block an American studio from selling to a foreign company.

Tidbits:

Sony is releasing a new Insidious film in August 2025. The franchise has grossed $730 M globally across five films.

The new trailer for Kevin Costner’s Horizon: An American Saga is nothing short of badass.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

One of Hollywood’s rising stars, Margaret Qualley, stars in Forever, Interrupted, a limited series based on the 2013 best-selling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

The A24 production has landed at Netflix, marking a second collaboration with Qualley after she headlined the streamer’s hit limited series Maid (2021, trailer).

Forever, Interrupted follows Elsie (Qualley) and her husband, Ben, who develop an electric once-in-a-lifetime love, yet after his unexpected death, Elsie is forced to come face to face with his mother-in-law Susan, (Laura Dern), who had no idea she existed.

Qualley first gained recognition for her supporting role in the HBO drama series The Leftovers (2014-2017). Later, she received several nominations for her portrayal of actress, dancer, and mistress of Bob Fosse in the FX miniseries Fosse/Verdon (2019).

The in-demand actress has most notably been on the big screen in films like Shane Black’s The Nice Guys (2016), Tarantino’s star-studded comedy-drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), Yorgos Lanthimos’ surrealist film Poor Things (2023), and most recently Ethan Coen’s road-trip comedy Drive-Away Dolls (2024).

Margaret Qualley also has two movies premiering this year at Cannes, the anthology film from Lanthimos, Kinds of Kindness, and the body-horror film, The Substance.

Dabney Coleman has passed away at 92an amazing actor known best for 9 to 5, Tootsie, and most recently, Yellowstone.

He had a career that spanned over six decades:

  • Tootsie (1982)
  • War Games (1983)
  • Yellowstone (Season 2, 2018)

Ben Stiller stated:

“The great Dabney Coleman literally created, or defined, really — in a uniquely singular way — an archetype as a character actor. He was so good at what he did it’s hard to imagine movies and television of the last 40 years without him.”

He will be missed.

Tidbit:

Noomi Rapace is set to play Mother Teresa in Mother, a new biopic following the famed Catholic Saint over seven pivotal days in her life.

From the director of God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya (2019), Teona Strugar Mitevska will make her English-language debut with Mother.

Mitevska described Rapace as “a perfect fit” for her depiction of Teresa as the rebellious figure fighting against the deep-rooted restraints within the Catholic church.

Nicolas Cage has been in the sun too long. In the trippy Cannes midnight movie The Surfer, Cage plays an Australian-American stuck in a neurotic dream of owning his childhood home, putting him in battle with a local gang of surfers. As Cage descends into madness, one line will live on in history:

“Eat the rat!”

Here’s a first-look clip.

Anthony Hopkins is the emperor of Rome. Hopkins stars in the new Peacock drama Those About to Die, co-directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). Here’s a first look still.


FESTIVALS

A few more major projects are launching at the Cannes Market.

  • Captivated
    • Starring: Al Pacino, Toby Kebbell, Katie Holmes
    • Sales agent: International Film Trust (Samuel L. Jackson’s Cell, 2016)

Synopsis:

A Calabrian mafia boss (older – Pacino/ younger – Kebell) kidnaps the grandson of the world’s richest men and endangers his entire organization when he falls in love with his victim’s mother (Holmes) during ransom negotiations.

It is based on the true story of the writer/producer Michael Mammoliti’s uncle. A previous adaptation of the events can be seen in Mark Wahlberg, Christopher Plummer, and Michelle Williams’ All The Money In The World (2017).

  • The Wizard of the Kremlin
    • Starring: Paul Dano, Alicia Vikander, Jude Law, Zach Galifianakis
    • Dir/Writer: Olivier Assayas (Personal Shopper, Clouds of Sils Maria)

Synopsis:

Russia, early 1990’s, in the aftermath of the USSR’s collapse. In a new world that promises freedom and flirts with chaos, a young artist-turned-TV producer, Vadim Baranov, unexpectedly becomes the spin doctor of a promising member of the FSB (ex-KGB), Vladimir Putin.

  • & Sons
    • Starring: Bill Nighy, Matt Smith, George MacKay (Femme, 1917)
    • Dir: Pablo Trapero (The Clan)
    • Writer: Sarah Polly (dir/writer: Women Talking)

Synopsis:

An American writer tries to reconnect with his sons.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

One of the first major Palme d’Or contenders, Jacques Audiard’s Emilia Perez, premiered with multiple rave reviews this weekend at Cannes.

Official synopsis:

Mexico, today. Lawyer Rita (Zoe Saldana) receives an unexpected offer. She has to help a feared cartel boss retire from his business and disappear forever by becoming the woman he’s always dreamed of being.

The film also stars Selena Gomez and Point Break’s Edgar Ramírez in supporting roles.

At the official festival press conference, director Jacques Audiard stated:

“[I] approached the idea of this film like an opera both in its choreography and use of music as its own character but also in its epic melodramatic grandeur.”

French filmmaker Audiard has become a consistent staple at Cannes. His film A Prophet (2010) won the Grand Prix, Rust and Bone (2012) was in competition, and in 2015, he won the coveted Palme d’Or for Dheepan.

The film’s NY Times review describes Emilia Perez as “Almodovar meets Sicario meets This is Me…Now and then you’re only halfway there!”

Experimental filmmaker Guy Maddin’s social satire, Rumours, is the funniest film at Cannes. Cate Blanchett and Alicia Vikander star.

Here’s the official synopsis: ​

The leaders of seven wealthy democracies get lost in the woods while drafting a statement on a global crisis, facing danger as they attempt to find their way out.

Blanchett discussed why she took on the role:

“You read the script with an understanding of the films that you [Maddin] have made… It’s very weird. And even so, go, oh, ‘there’s a giant brain’. OK. So it felt like in a way that you were collectively going on some kind of Scooby-Doo adventure that you hadn’t been on before.”

Maddin’s filmmaking is akin to a silent film hallucination, at times making even David Lynch look tame.

His films are bonanzas of collage: ​

  • The Green Fog (2017)
    • A San Francisco experimental film that uses Hitchcock’s Vertigo as a subliminal terrain
    • ​Trailer
  • The Forbidden Room (2015)
    • NYFF/TIFF/Berlin/Sundance official selection
    • A hallucinogenic submarine crew goes crazy
    • Trailer​

Rumors, set to be released by Bleecker Street in the fall, is Maddin’s most commercial film to date.

Tidbit:

Dallas Buyers Club producer Cassian Elwes, who offers yearly fellowships to unrepresented screenwriters, has launched a $100 M film fund with a Chinese tech entrepreneur.

Their first film is about the American Crime boss, Carol Gambino.


ON THIS DAY

1960. 13th Cannes Film Festival: The Sweet Life, directed by Federico Fellini, wins the Palme d’Or.


See you tomorrow.


Written by Gabriel Miller, Spencer Carter, and Madelyn Menapace.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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