Music Box Films has augmented its war chest of prestigious international titles by acquiring all US rights to Jean-Francois Richet’s two part Jacques Mesrine saga.

The four-hour $50m epic was originally set up at Senator Entertainment however when Marco Weber’s company folded last year Music Box swooped after the rights reverted to the producers.

Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy No 1 will open in theatres this summer. The first part earned Vincent Cassel a 2009 Cesar best actor award for his portrayal of the real-life French bank robber, kidnapper and prison escape artist Jacques Mesrine.

Richet, whose credits include the Assault On Precinct 13 remake, won the best director Cesar for the first episode. The two-part epic also stars Gerard Depardieu, Mathieu Almaric, Roy Dupuis, Cecile de France, Ludivine Sagnier and Olivier Gourmet.

Music Box partners Edward Arentz and William Schopf negotiated the deal with Gregoire Melin, managing director of the film’s international sales agent Kinology.

Schopf called the film the “French Scarface”, adding that “while it evokes the great tradition of French policiers and underworld crime dramas, it is also a muscular world-class action film anchored by Cassel’s towering lead performance. We know American audiences will love it.”

“After our fantastic experience on Tell No One, Music Box was the ideal partner for promoting and distributing the excellent Mesrine, where Cassel’s talent explodes,” Melin said.

Music Box opens the Scandinavian smash The Girl With The Dragon Tattooon March 19 in key markets.