A pair of private Cannes screenings in recent days have stirred buyers at the Marche du Film. On Saturday, Columbia Pictures acquired North American rights to James Gray‘s “We Own The Night,” a Cannes competition film executive produced and financed by Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner‘s 2929 Productions. It was produced by Marc Butan and Nick Wechsler. Insiders close to the pact pegged the large deal at about $11 million. John Sloss‘ Cinetic Media exclusively handled North American rights to the movie and brokered the deal with Peter Schlessel, Sony Pictures‘ head of worldwide acquisitions. 2929 International is handling international sales. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, and Robert Duvall, the film won’t have its official premiere in Cannes until Friday, so Cinetic organized a private showing for select buyers and the bidding quickly began.
Meanwhile, at the IM Global Riviera suite, buyers have been streaming in to watch ten minutes of raw footage from Larry Charles‘ untitled documentary project featuring Bill Maher. Charles sent a few selects to Cannes for an afternoon screening that filled the IM Global stand with nearly 200 people. CAA is brokering a U.S. deal for the movie and top reps from The Weinstein Company, Miramax, Paramount Vantage, New Line, Warner Independent, Lionsgate, ThinkFilm, Magnolia, Overture, and Roadside Attractions were among the companies watching the footage. More buyers lined up on Saturday morning at the IM global stand to view the footage as well. [Eugene Hernandez]