Cobalt Media Group is in advanced talks to take over selected international rights on Paramount Pictures and Mutual Film Co's $100m-plus Timeline, one of the biggest-budget productions being circulated at Cannes.

The deal is thought to include some of the territories where Mutual usually puts its films through its consortium of international distribution partners such as Telemunchen in Germany and Toho-Towa in Japan. Mutual is bringing Cobalt into the film as a means of sharing the high cost of co-financing the film, which has an A-list director in Richard Donner but a cast of unproven box office draws in Paul Walker, Frances O'Connor and Gerard Butler.

The film, an adaptation of Michael Crichton's novel, is the second big-budget picture Cobalt has pounced on in the run up to Cannes after it agreed to represent international rights on Kevin Costner's western, Open Range.

Donner, director of the Lethal Weapon franchise, The Omen and Superman - The Movie, has set his production company Donners Co at UK-based Winchester Films which will handle international rights on the outfit's films.

Paramount is expected to release Timeline, currently in production in Canada, as a tentpole picture in 2003. The time travel story follows a group of students who get trapped in 14th century France when they go back in time to try to rescue their professor.