Cannes has kicked off with a cannon shot on the acquisition market. After 5 studios battled each other with bids, Deadline reports that Paramount Pictures has paid $20 million for the domestic distribution right for The Story of Your Life, to be directed by Prisoners helmer Denis Villeneuve and starring Amy Adams. Adapted from a short story by Ted Chiang, the script by Eric Heisserer, the plot revolves around an expert linguist who is hired by the military to communicate with aliens whose crafts have landed all over the globe.
$20 million is now the record price for a distribution deal done at Cannes, and I just want to put it into perspective for a moment to remind us how much money that is. With that money Paramount could have flushed out at least 5 more profitable Paranormal Activity films just because they could. Last year Kanye West made $20 million according to Forbes. That’s right, Paramount just dropped the net worth of 2013 Kanye West on this film without even a single shot filmed.
Denis Villeneuve is a director I’m very excited about. Prisoners was my favorite film of 2013 and Incendies was a near masterpiece in the vein of Hitchcock. He knows how to both tell his story and articulate his characters through visuals and effective suspense. At this point I approach anything with his name on it with good faith. Add on an incredible actress like Amy Adams and I can see why the studios were chomping at the bit for this one. To top things off the fact that Paramount spent Yeezy money just for the domestic distribution rights to this film is a another strong indicator that this film will deliver the goods.
No production start date has been announced, but both Villeneuve and Adams have busy summers. Adams will reprise her role as Lois Lane in Batman vs. Superman and Villeneuve will direct Sicario, a crime thriller starring Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. Presumably after both of those films have wrapped these two will have the time to film The Story of Your Life. It’s hard to predict when to expect this film, but with the money Paramount is putting into it you can expect them to slot it for a prime release date it can succeed in.