Eagle Pictures has announced the first titles to make up the 2008-2009 slate of the company since its take over last year by Franco-Tunisian financier Tarak Ben Ammar.

Eagle Pictures head of acquisitions Maria Grazia Vairo told Screen the titles announced will be released in Italy, and in some cases will see distribution in the other territories that make up the newly-formed Alliance network.

'We won't always be buying movies for all the territories, unless a film works for everybody but every territory will keep their identity,' she explained, adding that the various distributors are 'already consulting each other and working together.'

Vairo said Eagle is ' continuing along the same type of independent vein, but with less (focus on) horror. We feel that market is saturated,' she says.

Releases for 2008 include Menno Meyies' Manolete, a biopic about the
famous bullfighter Manuel Laureano Rodriguez Sanchez, played by Adrien Brody with Penelope Cruz as his lover Lupe Sino.

The story begins with the bullfighter's last day in the city of Linares and travels backward through the couple's romance.

The picture has been rumored for a Venice world premier in advance of its September Italian release.

Josh Holloway's thriller Whisper, a dark crime story about a young boy's kidnapping is also slated for a September release.

Other titles to be released in 2008 include:

  • El Arca, an Argentinian animation inspired by Noah's ark
  • Romantic comedy The Accidental Husband starring Uma Thurman and Colin Firth
  • Death Defying Acts - a Harry Houdini inspired drama with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Guy Pearce directed by Gillian Armstrong
  • Virgin Territory with Hayden Christensen, Mischa Barton and Tim Roth directed by David Leland
  • Twilight, Catherine Hardwicke's latest which will be released in line with the film's US Christmas release.

Eagle's 2009 season includes:

  • Adventure fantasy City of Ember, directed by Gil Kenan starring Bill Murray and Tim Robbins
  • Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer's comedy spoof Disaster Movie
  • Ian Softley's Inkheart with Oscar winner Helen Mirren
  • Knowing, a thriller starring Nicolas Cage directed by Alex Proyas
    John Woo's Red Cliff with Tony Leung
  • Pride And Glory, an action-thriller with Edward Norton and Colin
  • Kate Hudson's next romantic comedy My Best Friend's Girl, also featuring Jason Biggs.

The slate is rounded out with the Religulous - Larry Charles' docu-comedy on the state of world religion.

Other announced acquisitions include Step Up- 3, Point Break Indo and
I Hate Valentine's Day.