Mubi Swoops on Andrea Arnold’s Cannes Competition Entry ‘Bird’ for North America (EXCLUSIVE)

Mubi has doubled down on Andrea Arnold’s “Bird” — starring Barry Keoghan and Franz Rogoswki — swooping on North American and Turkish rights to the Cannes competition entry less than two weeks after it announced it had bought the film for the U.K. and Ireland.

The acquisition — which Variety understands came after a fierce bidding war — marks another buzzy U.S. deal for the arthouse distributor, production house and streaming platform as it looks to expand its theatrical presence in North America. Before Cannes kicked off, it made a major splash by picking up body-horror “The Substance” — starring Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley and one of the biggest talking points of Cannes — for North America, U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, Latin America and Benelux, where it will release theatrically this year.

More from Variety

The “Bird” deal was arranged between CAA Media Finance, Cornerstone and Mubi. Further release details the film’s release in North America, the U.K. and Ireland and Turkey will be announced in the coming months.

Written and directed by Arnold, “Bird” sees the director return to the social realist, kitchen sink world of her dramas “Red Road” and “Fish Tank” (both of them Cannes jury prize winners). Keoghan plays Bug, a tattoo-covered young father struggling to devote much time to his two children, including lonely 12-year-old daughter Bailey (Nykiya Adams), who’s approaching puberty and seeking adventures elsewhere. Rogowski, meanwhile, plays the titular Bird, an eccentric outsider who suddenly enters Bailey’s life. Jasmine Jobson, best known for “Top Boy” also stars, and, as with many of Arnold’s films, she’s sprinkled her cast with first-timers, including the likes of Adams and Jason Buda.

The film received a warm welcome at its premiere in Cannes, where it was given a seven-minute standing ovation. In Variety‘s review, it was described as a “a gritty story of emotional poverty crossed with a fantasy-pal fairy tale.”

“Bird” was produced by Lee Groombridge alongside Juliette Howell and Tessa Ross for their House Productions. It was developed and financed by BBC Film, and backed by the BFI awarding National Lottery funding. The film marks Arnold’s first film since her 2021 documentary “Cow” — which was also released by Mubi — and her first fiction feature since 2016’s “American Honey.”


Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.