Newly-recapitalised Italian distributor Eagle Pictures is finalising the acquisition of three titles from Guy East and Nigel Sinclair's Intermedia Films in a deal that is expected to lead to a long-term distribution arrangement.

Eagle co-founder and chief executive officer Stefano Dammicco confirmed that the companies are negotiating a multi-picture deal in addition to the distributor acquiring all Italian rights to Intermedia's The Wedding Planner, Where The Heart Is and Whipped.

Wedding is a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, while Heart features Natalie Portman. Whipped, a comedy being handled by Destination Films in North America, features The Whole Nine Yards' Amanda Peet. Dammicco plans to release Wedding for Christmas and Heart in November, but added that the dates are not certain.

Eagle has this year emerged as a much-need acquisition force in Italy following the demise of Cecchi Gori as a powerful rights buyer. Eagle received a boost earlier this year when private equity financier B&S Private Equity Group took a 20% stake.

The distributor, which has also appointed former SACIS chief Giampaolo Sodano as president, recently sealed a two-picture deal with US-based sales agent Summit Entertainment. The deal, which may lead to a long-term relationship, covers horror picture The Calling and Artisan Entertainment comedy Novocaine, starring Steve Martin and Helena Bonham Carter.

Intermedia has recently struck long-term distribution pacts with Filmax for Spain, Svensk for Scandinavia and Helkon for Germany. The UK-based integrated entertainment company has been looking at various overseas distribution options - including split rights, sub-distribution and direct distribution arrangements - after unveiling twin credit lines totalling $300m from Societe General and Chase Securities at Cannes last year.