Miramax Films has signed a three-year-first-look dealwith Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella's Mirage Enterprises, kickingoff with the adaptation of Allison Pearson's comic bestseller IDon't Know How She Does It, the first part of Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy fantasy, The Amulet Of Samarkand, and the family drama The MarryingGame.

The deal, announced on Dec 14 by Miramax co-chairman HarveyWeinstein, encompasses all of Pollack and Minghella's filmproduction-related activities and cements a longstanding relationship thatbegan in 1998 with Sliding Doors and includes The Talented Mr Ripley, Iris and The Quiet American, among others.

In addition, Minghella directed The English Patient for Miramax, which won nine Oscars in1997 including best director. Cold Mountain, the latest collaboration between thecompanies to be directed by Minghella, opens in the US on Christmas Day.

Co-president of production Bob Osher, executive vice president ofbusiness affairs Steve Hutensky, and senior vice president of business andlegal affairs Eric Roth negotiated the agreement on behalf of Miramax. BarryTyerman, of Armstrong Hirsch Jackoway Tyerman & Wertheimer, and CAArepresented Mirage.

"Cold Mountain was one of the best experiences I've had making amovie," Weinstein said in a statement. "Having collaborated onAnthony's last three films and having released five films that Sydney produced,it is certainly time for us to partner. They have great taste in material andclearly attract the best talent in the business."

"Miramax has been responsible for releasing some of the mostimportant and ambitious films of the last 20 years," Minghella said."[Harvey and Bob]' have supported me and championed my work with realpassion. I'm delighted that Sydney and I can formalise a producingrelationship which has existed tacitly for some time."

"I have had an extraordinarily good experience with Miramaxover the past five years," Pollack added. "Harvey and Bob have a keeneye for original material and take chances with projects that are out of theordinary. I am very excited that Anthony and I have the opportunity to workwith them over the next three years."

I Don't Know How She Does It centres on British newspaper columnistPearson's acclaimed comic account of a young mother's efforts tojuggle children and a career. Kevin Wade (Working Girl) is writing the screenplay.

The Amulet Of Samarkand follows the life of a young trainee magician and hisworld-weary genie in London. Hossein Amini (Wings Of The Dove) is adapting the screenplay from the novelpublished by Miramax Books.

The Marrying Game is based on the novel by Kate Saunders about an ancient andimpoverished English family trying to marry money in order to save theirancestral home. Screenplay honourshere will be performed by Lucinda Cox