German distributor Kinowelthas taken rights to a package of films headed by Warner Bros titles MillionDollar Baby and Mr & Mrs Smith.
Clint Eastwood'sOscar-nominated Million Dollar Baby has been widely advertised as beinghandled by Warner's German branch with a release date of March 3. Kinowelt'sBertil Le Claire said the company would be keeping the same release slot."There was a misunderstanding which meant that Warner's contract had not beensigned. We acquired the rights from Epsilon." While Warner is the film'sdistributor in the US, Lakeshore handled most of international sales. ButEpsilon Motion Pictures, the investment vehicle set-up by the now defunct Kirchgroup and Italy's Mediaset has numerous territorial rights.
Epsilon was also the sourceof the rights to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt -starring assassins drama Mr& Mrs Smith, romantic comedy Guess Who (directed by Kevin RodneySullivan and starring Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac) and Stay, by MonstersBall director Marc Forster. The thriller stars Ewan McGregor, Naomi Wattsand Ryan Gosling.
The deal is rich in irony.As Kinowelt's predecessor company slipped into bankruptcy three years ago itwas unable to pay Kirch for a package of Warner Bros and New Line titles thatincluded the potentially lifesaving Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
"This has nothing to do withrevenge, we will make sure that Warner is fine," said Le Claire.