UPDATE: Columbia Pictures announced on Wednesday [10] it had acquired the US and most of the world to David Ayer’s upcoming WWII tank thriller, leaving several key markets for QED International to exploit at Cannes next month.

Columbia also confirmed earlier reports that Brad Pitt will indeed star. The A-lister will play a veteran army sergeant in command of a Sherman tank crew on a mission behind enemy lines in 1945.

The deal marks the latest powerhouse play by the independent sector. QED International CEO Bill Block paid in the region of $1m for Ayer’s script earlier in the year and will arrive on the Croisette with one of the hottest properties in the market for available territories.

Screendaily understands Block has held on to Italy, Asia (excluding South Korea), the CIS and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

QED is the producing alongside John Lesher’s Le Grisbi Productions and Ethan Smith and production is set to begin in September. Columbia has earmarked a Nov 14 2014 release.

QED and Columbia previously partnered on District 9. Block and Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad made the announcement.