The Wagner/Cuban Company's Magnolia Pictures and Madman announced today they have respectively pre-bought North American and Australia/New Zealand rights to two high profile films from TrustNordisk and Zentropa Entertainment: the just announced and hugely anticipated Lars von Trier and Martin Scorsese collaboration, The Five Obstructions: Scorsese Vs. Trier, and the sweeping historical drama, A Royal Affair.
Martin Scorsese subjecting himself to Lars von Trier's challenge was one of the biggest announcements out of Cannes this year. The Five Obstructions: Scorsese Vs. Trier follows in the footsteps of The Five Obstructions, Lars von Trier's landmark 2003 documentary collaboration with Jørgen Leth, wherein Lars von Trier challenged Jørgen Leth to remake his 1967 short film The Perfect Human five times, with an increasingly difficult set of strict rules, or obstructions, that he had to follow. Slated to be finished in 2013, The Five Obstructions: Scorsese Vs. Trier is a co-production between Martin Scorsese's Sikelia Productions and Trier and Peter Aalbæk Jensen's Zentropa Real.
Magnolia and Madman are distributors of Lars von Trier's gorgeous Melancholia, which debuted with much fanfare today at Cannes, and will be released later this year.
Currently in production, A Royal Affair is an 18th century historical drama four years in the making, starring Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel, screenwriter of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the film is an epic romance about the love triangle between a German doctor, the queen of Denmark, and her deranged king. The film was produced by Meta Louise Foldager (Melancholia) and Sisse Graum Jørgensen (In a Better World) for Zentropa Entertainments.
"The Five Obstructions is one of my all time favorite films, and I couldn't be more excited to see what these two masters concoct together for this next installment," said Magnolia SVP Tom Quinn. "After being blown away by Melancholia here in Cannes, the opportunity to work with Lars von Trier again is a dream come true. Together with A A Royal Affair, we are so happy to continue our wonderful relationship with TrustNordisk and Zentropa."
"Strengthening long standing bonds over a legendary dinner. Madman looks to the future and sees no obstructions boarding The Five Obstructions: Scorsese Vs. Trier. There is a lot of mutual love to champion maverick filmmakers," said Paul Wiegard, MD Madman Entertainment.
CEO of TrustNordisk Rikke Ennis about the deals: "We did it again. We are so proud of working on these amazing films with our good friends from Magnolia and Madman. After a long and inspiring night with brainstorming on ideas for releases, we are confident that the films will be handled like little babies."
The deals were done by Magnolia's Tom Quinn and Eamonn Bowles, Madman's Paul Wiegard and Nick Batzias, with Susan Wendt and Rikke Ennis for TrustNordisk.