Nick Meyer is understood to have cut a deal with Paramount to pre-sell a handful of major territories on the live-action film starring Denzel Washington, in a development that further underscores the ability of the independent market to support prestigious commercial fare.

With one month to go before the AFM, buyers report that Meyer is on board to license the high-stakes drama in France, Germany, Spain, Russia and Eastern Europe. Neither Meyer nor Paramount had returned calls or emails at time of writing.

As the former president of Paramount Vantage Meyer maintains close ties with Paramount. Indeed the arrangement echoes a deal at the 2008 EFM when the executive banked high MGs from buyers in Germany, Italy, Spain and the CIS for Shutter Island.

As with Martin Scorsese’s film, Paramount owns most of the world on Flight and will distribute in North America and release throughout the rest of the world via PPI.

It is understood Zemeckis and the studio have set a mid-October start in Atlanta on what will be the director’s first live-action film in 12 years since Cast Away.

Washington will play a pilot who saves passengers on a plane and comes under uncomfortable scrutiny in the ensuing investigation. John Goodman and Kelly Reilly will also star.

In a separate, unrelated development that also highlights the robust state of the independent market, Ron Howard recently commenced principal photograhy on Rush, the director’s first non-studio project in more than a quarter-century.

Exclusive Films International, led by Meyer’s former Vantage lieutenant Alex Walton, commenced pre-sales on that title in Toronto and Exclusive Media Group is jointly financing and producing with Cross Creek Pictures.