Paramount Pictures has fired a rocket into the Cannes market, paying what is understood to be $20m for North American and Chinese rights to the Amy Adams sci-fi Story Of Your Life.

The studio beat out several rival bidders in what will be a record Cannes sale once details are confirmed.

WME Global represented the filmmakers with FilmNation, which finances the film, produces with Lava Bear and 21 Laps and handles international rights.

Red-hot Denis Villeneuve has been lined up to direct from a screenplay by Eric Heisserer about a linguist who is summoned when aliens visit earth.

Villeneuve is riding high following the acclaimed Prisoners and is also in the market with Sicario for Lionsgate International.