C+P - the joint acquisition and distribution venture between French majors Canal Plus and Pathe - has acquired French rights to mammoth Disney sci-fi picture Mission To Mars from Spyglass Entertainment.

Brian De Palma's epic, which is budgeted around $75m, will open in North America on March 10 through Buena Vista. Late last year, Spyglass acquired continental European rights to the picture for distribution through its overseas partners Eureka (Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and the former USSR), Svensk Filmindustri (Scandinavia) and Lusomundo (Portugal).

In France, however, the film does not fall under Canal Plus' existing arrangement with Spyglass that called for the pay-TV giant to take Spyglass's first five films in France and Belgium (and for pay-TV in Scandinavia). As a result, Canal Plus and Pathe jointly acquired French rights to the film through their C+P.

C+P currently handles films from Mandalay Entertainment (whose films C+P acquired until 2001) and Bel Air Entertainment (in which Canal Plus is partnered with Warner Bros) in France, the UK and Benelux. It is a separate releasing structure to Canal Plus Image's own recently established distribution network across Europe.

The Mission To Mars scenario represents the first time that Spyglass has co-financed a film with its partner Disney. It kicked in 100% finance for its first two pictures - Instinct and mega-blockbuster The Sixth Sense - both of which were existing Disney projects. And its next two projects - Shanghai Noon and Keeping The Faith - are fully developed, produced and financed by Spyglass.

Mission To Mars stars Gary Sinise, Don Cheadle, Tim Robbins, Jerry O'Connell and Kim Delaney in a story of the first manned mission to Mars in 2009 and the mysterious power-source that the astronauts encounter on the red planet.

A competing Mars movie, Warner Bros/Village Roadshow's Red Planet, was last week rescheduled to avoid conflict with Mission To Mars. Red Planet will now open in North America this November.