Luc Besson’s ‘Dogman’ Set for Fall Release as it Eyes Festival Launch; More International Distributors Board Film (EXCLUSIVE)

After securing major distribution deals at the EFM, Luc Besson’s next film “Dogman” starring Caleb Landry Jones, is now eyeing a launch in the festival circuit this fall, Variety has learned.

The movie’s French release, initially planned for April 19, has been pushed to the fall to allow distributors to prepare a coordinated global release after a launch at an A-category festival. It would mark the first Besson-directed movie to open at a festival in decades. His wild space opera movie “The Fifth Element” was the opening night movie of the 50th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in 1997.

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Besson’s first film since his 2019 actioner “Anna,” “Dogman” is rumored to mark a return to form for the French director. Based on the trailer which we saw before the Berlinale, the film will be closer to some of his early work, notably “The Professional” and “Nikita” which were character-driven movies with a darker edge.

Landry Jones, a Texas-born musician and actor best-known for Cannes prizewinning role in “Nitram,” stars as Douglas, a man who was abused as a child by his violent father and viciously thrown to dogs. Instead of attacking him, the dogs came to protect him and became his allies. On a journey to heal from childhood trauma and physical injury, Douglas seeks to find his own path, even if it means bending societal rules, gender and going overboard with his love of dogs. The trailer and first still of the movie (pictured) tease Landry Jones’ impressive transformation into a woman.

Kinology screened the anticipated movie for select buyers at the European Film Market and lured well-established distributors in Italy (Lucky Red), Germany and Austria (Capelight Pictures), Spain and Latin America (Sun Distribution Group), Scandinavia (Svensk Filmindustri), Benelux (Belga Films), Switzerland (Elite Film), Middle East (Front Row), Poland (Monolith), Portugal (Nos Lusomundo Audiovisuais), Czech Republic and Slovakia (AQS) and former Yugoslavia (Blitz).

The sales banner has now completed a second raft of deals with The Klockworx (Japan), Atnine Film (South Korea), iFilm Co. (Taiwan), Spentzos Films (Greece), Red Cape (Israel), Filmarti (Turkey), Vertigo Media (Hungary). Sales to the U.S. and other English-language territories are currently in negotiations. Apollo Films will release “Dogman” in France.

Besson is producing via his banner LBP. EuropaCorp, the company he founded which is now owned by New York-based Vine Alternative. France’s leading commercial network TF1 has pre-bought the movie and is co-producing it.

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