The Weinstein Company has nabbed the United States, Canada and Spain rights to Stephen Frears' "Philomena" for $6.5 million. Reporting the ongoing talks first, Deadline learned that the studio stepped up as an exclusive bidder as soon as Focus Features dropped out of the bidding, based on a morning screening of partial footage at Cannes Festival.
Based on journalist Martin Sixsmith's "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee", the film features Judi Dench as Philomena Lee, an Irish woman who searches for her adult son whom she was forced to give up for adoption as a teen. Stephen Coogan of "Despicable Me 2" co-stars as Martin Sixsmith, who helps the protagonist's search for her child.
Represented by Pathe and BBC Films, the drama is penned by Jeff Pope and Coogan, who also serves as co-producer alongside Gabrielle Tana and Tracey Seaward.
In other news, Harvey Weinstein screened footage of his upcoming stars-packed films at the Majestic Hotel at the South of France-set festival on Friday, May 17. "August: Osage County", "Grace of Monaco", "Fruitvale Station" and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" were some of nine clips that he showed off in front of international buyers.
"We have a member of the jury with us tonight, and she has to go for a jury meeting to hopefully decide which movie of mine wins the Palme d' Or," Weinstein jokingly said of "Grace of Monaco" star Nicole Kidman, who came with Octavia Spencer, Rooney Mara and Michael B. Jordan to give supports to the studio's 2013 slate.