Triangle of Sadness: Neon Beats Out A24, Others for Satirical Cannes Standout

In “one of the biggest deals to close on a Cannes Film Festival official selection title,” Neon has bought Ruben Östlund’s social satire Triangle of Sadness, Variety reports. A24 and “several top-tier buyers” were also eyeing the film, which closed its festival debut with an eight-minute standing ovation. According to insiders, the asking price was close to $8 million.

Starring Woody Harrelson as a Marxist captain of a cruise for the mega-rich, Triangle of Sadness marks Östlund’s English-language debut, in collaboration with producers Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober. The contemporary Swedish director and producer has previously attended Cannes with Force Majuere in 2014 and again in 2017 with The Square, winning the Palme d’Or. The film is Neon’s latest acquisition from Cannes, joining David Cronenberg’s gory Crimes of the Future and Brett Morgen’s Moonage Daydream.

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Per Variety, Neon’s Jeff Deutchman negotiated the North American acquisition deal with 30West, WME Independent, and Imperative Entertainment on behalf of the filmmakers; prior to its debut, Coproduction Office managed international sales for the film.

Triangle of Sadness was produced by Platform, in co-production with Essential Films, Coproduction Office, Sveriges Television, ZDF/ARTE, ARTE France Cinéma, and TRT Sinema, in association with Film i Väst, BBC Films, and 30 West.

Watch: Vertigo-Inducing First Look at Triangle of Sadness

In a nauseating first look at Triangle of Sadness, Woody Harrelson and Zlatko Burić go back and forth with quotes about communism and capitalism as the ship is rocked by waves. The constant shifting of the screen puts the viewer right at the captain’s table (impending seasickness included) as the men attempt to intellectually best one another over wine. Trading words from figures like Reagan, Thatcher, Lenin and Marx, the men laugh about the irony of a “Russian capitalist and an American communist” let alone on a $250 million yacht.

Other sneak peeks released provide a view into the lives of the yacht’s filthy rich passengers. One clip shows a male model is auditioning in front of a panel spouting directions—”can you relax your ‘triangle of sadness?’ Open your mouth to look a little more available…okay, not that much.” Another shows a thin, blonde woman posing on the deck as an older man snaps photos, while a woman leisurely lounging in a hot tub explains to the bored crew member doting on her that “we’re all equal.”

The North American release date for Triangle of Sadness is TBA.

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