IEG CONFIRMS ALI DEAL WITH COLUMBIA
Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) has confirmed that the deal between Columbia Pictures and IEG for Michael Mann's big budget boxing biopic Ali has been finalised, with IEG providing funds to finance the film against worldwide distribution excluding the US and Canada. IEG has been involved in the picture - now shooting - since last October, but CEO Graham King has only just concluded his deal on the film.
NEWMARKET TO RELEASE DONNIE DARKO IN US
Pandora, the LA-based specialised financing and distribution arm of Gaylord Films, has sold US rights for Donnie Darko to Newmarket Films, the domestic distribution arm of Will Tyrer and Chris Ball's Newmarket Capital, which is enjoying spectacular success with its first theatrical release Memento. Donnie Darko, which premiered in dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival, is directed by Richard Kelly and has been pared down some ten minutes from the version screened at Sundance. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Noah Wylie, Drew Barrymore, Katharine Ross and Patrick Swayze and ironically follows a similar reverse-storytelling structure as Memento.
CANNES MARKET STATISTICS
For all the talk of strike negotiations hampering the ability to do deals, the Cannes Market is on course to be bigger than ever. And Asia should take much of the credit. According to Jerome Paillard, executive director of the market, pre-registration of some 5,350 executives is some 12.5% higher than last year. Paillard expects the final tally to exceed the 6,065 final figure of 2000. Notable increases in participant numbers are from the UK and Japan, both sending 8% more. The market reports that the number of films due to screen is up 28% on last year too. After 519 films last year this year is expected to top 667. Screenings rise from 1,007 to 1,238. Registered buyers have grown from 1,572 to 1,793 with the biggest increases coming from Japan, Korea and France.
BROTHERHOOD ON GERMAN FANTASY RIDE
Christophe Gans' fantasy epic Brotherhood Of The Wolf (Le Pacte Des Loups) will open this year's Fantasy Filmfest which begins its tour of Germany in Munich on 18 July and then travels on to Stuttgart, Cologne and Frankfurt and Hamburg and Berlin.
NORTH AMERICAN TO HANDLE H30 FILMS
H30 Filmed Entertainment, the new Vancouver production outfit run by former Prophecy Entertainment Group executive John Curtis, has sealed a distribution alliance with Lloyd Simandl's North American Releasing to sell its films. First to go under the arrangement is the film Watch Me from the novel by A.J. Holt for which screenwriter Pat Bermel (Ripper: Letter From Hell) has been hired to adapt. Watch Me will be directed by John Eyres (Ripper, Conspiracy Of Fear). Production is scheduled to begin in late September. The second film under the deal will be Dead Silence, an action thriller in development and the third will be Sorcerers, a co-production between H30 and GFT Entertainment (Kevin Of The North).
MIRAMAX SEALS PACINO PICTURE
Myriad Pictures has confirmed that Miramax Films has bought domestic rights to its suspense drama People I Know directed by Dan Algrant and starring Al Pacino, Kim Basinger, Tea Leoni and Ryan O'Neal. Miramax recently acquired the US, Australia and New Zealand rights to Myriad's Tangled starring Rachael Leigh Cook. Myriad produced People I Know in conjunction with Southfork Pictures, the independent division of Robert Redford's Wildwood Enterprises.
WILD BUNCH ENTERS WILD BUNCH
StudioCanal specialist division Wild Bunch will handle worldwide rights on French-Spanish co-production Madhouse (Una Casa De Locos) from director Cedric Klapisch. Madhouse stars a pan-European cast of up-and-comers led by Romain Duris, Judith Godreche, Cristina Brondo and Paulina Galvez in a comedy about a group of international students sharing an apartment in Barcelona. A co-production between Ce Qui Me Meut (France), Castelao (Spain) and Mate Production (Spain), the $4.7m film began shooting on May 2. Filmax has all distribution rights in Spain.