Flying in the face of a depressed market in general and a sluggish German market in particular, Focus Features has concluded a bumper three-picture deal with Constantin Film for its three new titles 21 Grams, Lost In Translation and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.
The deal for the titles, some of the hottest in MIFED, is easily the biggest clinched here so far. Focus is asking for some hefty sums for 21 Grams alone - including over $4m in the UK, according to buyers - and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is known to be even more expensive considering its cast of stars Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet and probably Kirsten Dunst. However, few buyers deny that they are some of the sexiest pictures around. 21 Grams, for example, is "the best script in the market" according to many.
Constantin had previously bought two films from Focus or Good Machine International as it was then - Zhang Yimou's upcoming martial arts epic Hero starring Jet Li and Zhang Ziyi and Radar horror flick The Texas Chainsaw Massacre produced by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes production company. 21 Grams is the first English-language film from Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Focus won a bidding war for worldwide rights to the picture earlier this summer and it is expected to be a prestige release for awards season in the US 2003. Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts star.
Lost In Translation is the second feature from Sofia Coppola after The Virgin Suicides which was jointly sold by StudioCanal and the now defunct Goldwyn Films aka United Artists in 1999. Shot in Tokyo, it stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson as strangers who meet up while visiting the city and become friends. Eternal Sunshine is to be directed by Michel Gondry from a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman.
Constantin has been exiting several output relationships of late including Escape Artists. The company has assumed responsibility for the release of product from Swiss-based Highlight Communications including The Hours and Harv, The Barbarian following the recent increase in Highlight's stake in Constantin to 25%. Constantin also handles booking and billing for RTL Group's theatrical releases like K-PAX, K-19 and Basic.