Focus Features and Universal Pictures International have come on board to distribute Miramax’s thriller The Debt.

Focus will release the film in the US on Aug 31, with UPI handling the international release.

John Madden directs the espionage thriller starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Ciaran Hinds and Tom Wilkinson.

The screenplay, written by Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman and Peter Straughan, was adapted from the 2007 Israeli film Ha-Hov.

Producers are Vaughn and Kris Thykier for Marv Films, Eitan Evan, and Eduardo Rossof. Tarquin Pack served as executive producer.

The plot is about retired Mossad secret agents who were involved with an important mission in 1966.

The Debtpremiered in Telluride. The film’s release has been delayed from an original planned date of October 2010.

Focus CEO James Schamus said: “Given Focus’ tradition of dramatic thrillers that unfold in exotic locations, The Debt makes for a worthy addition to our 2011 release slate. The picture is taut with nail-biting tension, and spotlights powerful performances from its gifted cast. We are also excited to partner with Miramax and its new team.”

“What was a strong script has become an excellent film - and the kind of terrific thriller that works so well in the international marketplace. Everyone at UPI is proud to be distributing the picture,” added UPI president, international production and acquisitions Christian Grass.