AFM trade appeared to be solid at the half-way mark despite a dearth of new high-end packages that in light of an extraordinary Cannes market was perceived more as a foible of the production and financing cycle than any harbinger of doom.

Yet even if there was less fresh material in the $25m-$35m range than had been hoped for, new projects that did emerge translated into frenetic activity on the likes of Summit International’s 12 Years A Slave from Steve McQueen (pictured), where eOne prevailed in a bidding war for UK rights, and Louis Leterrier’s Now You See Me plus IM Global’s Dead Man Down from Niels Arden Oplev.

Pre-existing titles like Exclusive Films International’s Rush attracted plenty of business, as did Outrun and Project Blue Book, two new additions to the slate that are in post. Voltage’s Imogene and Bin Laden thriller Code Name Geronimo, Lionsgate’s Penthouse North and FilmNation’s Mud, The Comedian and the pair of new Terrence Malick projects also generated interest.

IM Global reported a furious trade on Dead Man Down, its fully financed thriller to star Noomi Rapace and Colin Farrell. Deals closed with Momentum in the UK, Wild Bunch in Germany, Aurum in Spain, Nordisk in Scandinavia, Central Partnership in Russia, Swen in Latin America, SSG in Taiwan, Alliance in Canada and RCV in Benelux.

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“There’s not a ton of [new high-end product] but there’s demand for it,” said Sierra / Affinity chief Nick Meyer, enjoying strong trade on Europa, Rampart and Parker. “The vagaries of the production cycle means movies aren’t always ready.”

“The sweet spot is the $15m-$35m range and the sweeter spot is $25m-$35m,” sales veteran Jere Hausfater said. “Those movies are very difficult to put together and to finance because there are very few companies with the financial wherewithal to put these movies together.”

The Eurozone crisis kept European arthouse buyers away but that didn’t stop the major acquisitions teams from attending. A large number of South Korean buyers was also in evidence.

One UK buyer noted that the lack of much new high-end product enabled more deals on mid-level fare, while another invoked the “crumbs make the cake” analogy to describe how a high volume of smaller deals had turned this into a steady market.

The 11 rebel French companies that set up shop outside the Loews Hotel reported steady business, among them Bac Films with Sleepless Night. Celluloid Dreams, situated in the Loews, said it experienced plenty of heat on The Year Of The Snake and Chicken With Plums.