Maybe it was the dollar exchange rate or the rain that has dampened enthusiasm, but the Cannes market has lacked the hoped-for punch.

Certainly hopes that the Marche would mark the end a run of flat markets have not materialised.

But this year has not been a failure. Plenty of business was done but it was solid rather than spectacular with more than a hint of the caution that has been running through the specialty acquisitions sector.

In fact, some of problems were a direct hangover from previous soft markets which left a glut of product, squeezing prices.

Nonetheless, the top-tier US sales companies fared well.

Focus Features International reported strong sales on Gus Van Sant's Milk and the Coen Brothers' upcoming dark comedy A Serious Man, among others.

Summit, always strong and selling Terence Malick's The Tree Of Life here, concluded a sale on Disaster Movie to the new five-territory Alliance network.

Inferno virtually sold out on The Women and Hachiko: A Dog's Story. Lakeshore was close to selling out its Fame remake, IM Global was launching sales on Bunraku and Mandate International, QED International (selling Oliver Stone's George Bush biopic W here), Icon Entertainment International, Hyde Park International and The Weinstein Company International were quietly concluding a raft of deals on their high-powered slates.

Mandate International commenced sales on the first three titles from Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media, one of several players looking to tie up output deals in the wake of New Line International's demise.

Paramount Vantage was expected to have done steady business on its slate, including Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 sequel.

But for the rest this was a Cannes that smouldered without ever bursting into flame.

At time of writing, for example, only one competition title - Arnaud Desplechin's A Christmas Tale - had found a US domestic buyer, and that deal with IFC Films closed prior to the festival.

Bill Stephens, sales head of Germany and UK-based K5 International put it well: 'It has been a festival where most deals are the big films going to the big distributors, but if you're doing smaller films it just takes a little more work.'