While it’s still unknown how distribution sales at the current Cannes Film Festival will eventually turn out, one big sale is already making waves. Paramount Pictures bid a lofty $20 million for the North American rights to the anticipated science fiction drama Story of Your Life starring 5-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams. A month ago, we reported, that Adams is set to team with Prisoners director Denis Villeneuve in the feature which concerns a linguist tasked to decide if aliens that have crash-landed on Earth pose a threat. Eric Heisserer (Hours) penned the screenplay based on the short story by Hugo-award winning writer Ted Chiang.
Story of Your Life appears to have been heavily sought after, as reportedly many distributors wanted a piece of it. In the end, it came down to Paramount and Universal with Paramount prevailing in one of the biggest pre-sales buys in recorded history at the Cannes Film Market. Paramount is also believed to be hoping to lock in distribution rights for China as well. Why such a high turnout for a film that hasn’t even begun a second of shooting? Perhaps the talent associated was enough to spark interest. Adams, who was recently nominated for an Academy Award and bestowed with a Golden Globe prize for her acclaimed, hair-teased turn in David O. Russell’s 70s era comedy American Hustle is certainly in high demand. She is set to return to the screens this Christmas in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes for The Weinstein Company.
Villeneuve, who first gained notoriety for his French-language 2010 film Incendies (which earned a Best Foreign-Language Academy Award nomination that year), is like Adams, on a hot streak of his own. Following last falls’ successful thriller Prisoners, the director released the Jake Gyllenhaal art house film Enemy and is set to start shooting Sicario with Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro shortly.
Perhaps more so, Story of Your Life might read as a high-minded science fiction film that Paramount surely hopes will translate into commercial success, and maybe awards glory. Genre wise, it slightly echoes Gravity, last year’s sci-fi worldwide blockbuster and 7-time Oscar winner. Perhaps it even slightly echoes Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s grandly anticipated science fiction film due out this November for Paramount.
Whatever the case, Story of Your Life appears a high priority for Paramount. The film is looking to be released in cinemas in 2016. We will continue to follow Story of Your Life as more details come about.