Rome's leading distribution outfit, Medusa Film, has finalised a late deal to buy five completed films from Cecchi Gori, enabling the former Italian number one to inject some cash back into its beleaguered film distribution and production operation.

Medusa is believed to have paid between 68 and 70 billion lire ($35m) for theatrical and TV rights to the five films, which were all due to be released imminently by Cecchi Gori.

Medusa spokesman Claudio Trionfera said the group had picked up Il Principe E Il Pirata (The Prince And The Pirate), a widely-anticipated picture from Leonardo Pieraccioni, the record-breaking Tuscan comic who was given his big break in the early 90s by Vittorio Cecchi Gori's ex-wife Rita Rusic. The movie is set for a Christmas release.

Other films in the package are Marco Bechis's Argentinian-Italian drama Hijos-Figli, which screened in competition at Venice; Vincenzo Salemme's comedy Volesse Il Cielo; Stefano Incerti's La Vita Come Viene and Giovanni Veronesi's Streghe Verso Nord, a comedy which was released on Friday and stars local comic Teo Mammucari alongside Paul Sorvino, Emanuelle Seigner and Gerard Depardieu.

Cash-strapped Cecchi Gori will now be able to pump the "emergency" money back into the distribution of Enzo d'Alo's animation feature Momo - which is due out at Christmas - and Michael Mann's boxing picture Ali, as well as several ongoing productions including Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio.