The Works has confirmed that Fox Searchlight Pictures has acquired North and South American rights UK hit Bend It Like Beckham.

Fox Searchlight president Peter Rice and The Works chief executive Aline Perry said Fox Searchlight will handle North America and Twentieth Century Fox South America. Fox is understood to have paid $3m-plus for the soccer-themed comedy, directed by Gurinder Chadha.

"Bend It Like Beckham's Gurinder Chadha speaks with a voice that resonates with warmth and humour," Rice said. "We enthusiastically welcome her into our Fox Searchlight family."

The deal was brokered by Perry and Fox Searchlight's Senior Vice President of Acquisitions Tony Safford and Executive Vice President Joseph De Marco. The film was brought to Fox Searchlight's attention by President of Distribution Steve Gilula, who had seen the film in London en route to Cannes.

"The fact that Fox Searchlight will be distributing this film in North America and Twentieth Century Fox will be distributing in South America inspires me with confidence for building on the enormous success in the UK," said Perry.

The film was produced by Deepak Nayar and executive produced by Ulrich Felsburg, Russell Fischer, Simon Franks, Zygi Kamasa and Haneet Vaswani. It centers around Jess, an Indian girl who dreams of becoming a soccer star.