Johnny Depp’s ‘Jeanne du Barry’ Lands U.S. Distributor (EXCLUSIVE)

Maiwenn’s “Jeanne Du Barry,” a costume drama starring Johnny Depp as Louis XV, has been acquired by Vertical for North America following its world premiere on opening night of the Cannes Film Festival, Variety has learned.

The movie, which was greeted with a seven-minute standing ovation, marks Depp’s first leading role in three years. The movie has been having a strong run at the French box office, where it’s been handled by Le Pacte and grossed nearly $4.1 million from more than 550,000 tickets during its first two weeks in theaters.

“Jeanne du Barry” stars Maiwenn as Jeanne Vaubernier, a working class woman in 18th century France who rises the social ranks and becomes King Louis XV’s lover. Her working class roots make her a social pariah at the Versailles Palace. The movie’s acclaimed supporting cast includes Benjamin Lavernhe, Pierre Richard and Melvil Poupaud.

Represented in international markets by Goodfellas (formerly Wild Bunch International), “Jeanne du Barry” was produced by Why Not. The film was acquired by Netflix for second window rights in France only and received financing from Red Sea Film Foundation. Budgeted in the $22 million range, “Jeanne du Barry” shot on location in France, including at Versailles.

Over the last three years, Depp made headlines for his ongoing legal battles with ex-wife Amber Heard which culminated in a defamation trial won by Depp in December. In spite of the controversy surrounding the casting of Depp and its inclusion on opening night of the festival, “Jeanne du Barry” was warmly received at the festival. Depp even got a prolonged applause for his performance as the King Louis XV, his first role speaking in French. While the film has fared well in France, its performance in North America will test Depp’s comeback potential.

During the press conference for “Jeanne du Barry” at Cannes, Depp addressed his long absence from U.S. films and said, “Did I feel boycotted by Hollywood? You’d have to not have a pulse to feel like, ‘No. None of this is happening. It’s a weird joke.” “When you’re asked to resign from a film you’re doing because of something that is merely a function of vowels and consonants floating in the air, yes, you feel boycotted,” Depp continued, probably alluding to his forced exit from “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.” 

Varietysaid “Jeanne du Barry” “offers a relatively provocative take on all things royal” and described Depp’s turn opposite Maiwenn as a “decent, if distracting match.” “More than a stunt, picking such a major star to play the French king feels apt, for there must be a palpable power differential between Louis and his latest infatuation,” wrote Peter Debruge.

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