Chicago, the star-studded musical based on the celebrated Broadway show of the same title, will open next year's Berlin festival on Feb 6 in an out-of-competition slot.

"I am delighted that we will be able to start the coming Berlinale with this splendid cinematic experience and these international stars. Chicago will get audiences in the right mood for the festival", said festival director Dieter Kosslick.

Boasting stars Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere and Queen Latifah, the picture is expected to be one of the jewels in Miramax's crown during the forthcoming awards season. First-time director, Rob Marshall is already sure to receive the award for best directorial debut from the National Board of Review (NBR) while its noted costume designer Colleen Atwood will receive the Jean Luis Award for achievement in costume design at the forthcoming Palm Springs festival.

The story is that of a lowly performer (Zellweger) who dreams of emulating Vaudeville star (Zeta-Jones). But some wrong moves land them both in jail.

Chicago will be is released in the US on Dec 27 by Miramax and will be handled in Germany via Buena Vista International.