Cannes Film Fest 2023: ‘May December,’ Starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, for $11 Million After Buzzy Cannes Debut

Netflix landed North American rights for May December, Todd Haynes’ romantic-melodrama, starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, which debuted premiered at the Cannes Film Fest.

May December Cannes Julianne Moore Natalie Portman

It sold for $11 million, marking the first big sale of this year’s festival.

Several bidders, including Neon, were in the mix before Netflix emerged victorious. The asking price for the domestic deal was initially $6 million but the price tag ballooned as the bidding went on. The streamer hopes to position “May December” as an Oscar contender in the fall.

Todd Haynes is the subject of my latest book:

Gay Directors. by Emanuel Levy (Columbia University Press)

A scandalous age-gap relationship plays out at the center of “May December,” which debuted on Saturday to raves and earned a six-minute standing ovation. Moore plays the “December” to Charles Melton’s much-younger “May,” who was just 13 when the two fell in love. Given their 20-year age gap, their marriage inspired a national tabloid scandal.

Decades later, their relationship is put to the test as an actress (Portman) travels to Georgia to study the life of Moore’s character, whom she’s set to play in a film.

Samy Burch penned the screenplay based on a story she wrote with Alex Mechanik.

Jessica Elbaum and Will Ferrell of Gloria Sanchez Productions and Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler of Killer Films were producers on “May December” alongside Portman and Sophie Mas of MountainA.

CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group repped U.S. rights on the film, and Rocket Science handled international sales.

Haynes, the Oscar nominated screenwriter of “Far From Heaven,” had several of his films premiere at Cannes, including “Velvet Goldmine,” “Carol” and “Wonderstruck.”