UK independent distributor Optimum Releasing has acquired all UK rights from Gaumont to Francis Veber's French hit The Closet (Le Placard).

The comedy, starring Daniel Auteil and Gerard Depardieu, tells the story of a forty-something man who pretends that he's gay in order to save himself from redundancy.

The Closet achieved more than 5.3m admissions on its French release last January, (compared with Amelie's 7.7m admissions) and grossed $6.5m for US distributor Miramax on its US release last June.

Veber previously wrote and directed Three Fugitives starring Nick Nolte and Martin Short, and has written and is currently directing Dinner For Shmucks, a US remake of his 1998 film The Dinner Game.

Optimum will release The Closet theatrically next Spring.