American Film Buyers at the Cannes Film Festival are Showing Reluctance to Acquire Movies Dealing With Sensitive Subjects

Cannes Film Festival (IMDb)

The film industry is exercising caution when it comes to acquiring movies that tackle sensitive political topics, especially those related to former President Donald Trump. Despite Rocket Science securing international deals, US representatives CAA Media Finance and WME Independent are holding out for a post-screening deal.

The film’s controversial subject matter and potential legal repercussions from Trump himself may be contributing to the hesitation. With the upcoming presidential election, buyers are also considering audience fatigue and the desire for escapist content.

Film Buyers at the Cannes Festival (IMDb)

However, some films are managing to secure deals, such as Oliver Stone’s documentary Lula, which has been picked up by Dogwoof for international sales. The dystopian thriller Civil War, directed by Alex Garland, has performed well at the box office, grossing nearly $70m in the US, likely due to its apolitical stance.

The Palestinian-Israeli documentary No Other Land has secured key territories but is still seeking a US buyer, with plans to build buzz through festival screenings before the 2025 awards season.

The industry is treading carefully, weighing the potential risks and rewards of acquiring films that tackle sensitive political subjects. As one buyer noted, “If it’s a cinematic masterpiece or a wild escapist ride, we would go after it.

But for anything in between, the public isn’t engaging with this stuff as much as they used to.” The appetite for politically charged content may be waning, but some films are finding success by taking a more absurdist or apolitical approach.