Cannes only kicked off a few days ago, but Amazon is wasting no time in making its mark, snapping up the rights to two films, including Lynne Ramsay’s latest.
The streaming service is already king of the Croisette this year, with no fewer than five films screening at the festival – more than any other studio. While Amazon tends to acquire just the North American rights for such titles (The Neon Demon, for example, which is screening at the festival, is being released in UK cinemas by Icon on 8th July), they mark a major step in the online retailer’s development as a force in digital distribution, as well as a shift in the film landscape towards funding from streaming services.
Amazon is not resting on its laurels, though, and, away from its red carpet premieres, has already acquired two high-profile titles at the festival’s market.
The first is Mike Leigh’s Peterloo. The project, which is currently at script stage, is a period drama about the British government’s attack in 1819 upon peaceful protesters demanding parliamentary reform in Manchester.
Developed by Film4, the movie’s budget is pegged at around $20 million to $30 million, reports THR, and will be produced by the director’s regular collaborators at Thin Man Films, including Georgina Lowe, and will reunite Leigh with Mr. Turner’s DoP, Dick Pope.
“Apart from the universal political significance of this historic event, the story has a particular personal resonance for me, as a native of Manchester and Salford,” said Leigh.
The second is Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here. The film, which is based on a Jonathan Ames novel, follows a “former war vet who devotes himself to saving women exploited by sex traffickers”, according to THR.
Joaquin Phoenix will play the lead in the movie, which is about to begin filming in New York. Amazon Studios has again snapped up the North American rights only for the production, in a deal that is reportedly around $3.5 million – an offer that trumped an offer from A24 after a heated bidding session.
After opening the festival with Woody Allen’s Cafe Society, Amazon Studios’ existing acquisitions will continue to play, including Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson and Gimme Danger, as well as Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden. You can read our review of Cafe Society here.