Netflix has secured the North American rights for the film “May December,” a captivating romantic drama directed by Todd Haynes and featuring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore in the lead roles. The movie made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival and became the first major sale of this year’s festival, selling for an impressive $11 million.
Multiple bidders, including Neon, were vying for the rights to the film, but Netflix emerged as the victor after a competitive bidding process. The initial asking price for the domestic deal was $6 million, but the price steadily rose as the bidding intensified. Netflix has high hopes for “May December” and plans to position it as an Oscar contender when the awards season arrives in the fall.
The heart of the story in “May December” revolves around a scandalous relationship with a significant age gap. The film, which received critical acclaim, follows Moore’s character, the “December,” and her relationship with Charles Melton’s much younger “May.” The two fell in love when he was only 13 years old, and their marriage became the subject of a national tabloid scandal due to their 20-year age difference. Decades later, their relationship is tested when an actress portrayed by Portman travels to Georgia to study Moore’s character for an upcoming film in which she is set to play the role.
During the film’s press conference, Moore discussed the complexities of the age gap, emphasizing that while an age gap can exist between consenting adults, a relationship involving an adult and a child is an entirely different matter. She described the movie as dangerous because it explores the blurred boundaries between individuals. The film tackles these themes in a way that elicits a sense of fear and discomfort.
The screenplay for “May December” was written by Samy Burch based on a story she developed with Alex Mechanik. The film was produced by Jessica Elbaum and Will Ferrell of Gloria Sanchez Productions, as well as Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler of Killer Films, alongside Portman and Sophie Mas of MountainA.
The U.S. rights for the film were represented by CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group, while international sales were handled by Rocket Science. Todd Haynes, known for his acclaimed works such as “Far From Heaven,” “Carol,” “I’m Not There,” and “The Velvet Underground,” directed the film. Haynes has had several of his films premiere at Cannes, including “Velvet Goldmine,” “Carol,” and “Wonderstruck.”
The news of the sale of “May December” was first reported by Deadline, and the film’s debut at Cannes has garnered significant attention and praise from both critics and the audience.