Thank You For Smoking producer and the head of Room 9 Entertainment DavidO Sacks has declared that Fox Searchlight Pictures is the sole owner of thefilm and that, while negotiations had taken place with Paramount Classics, nodeal had been closed with that studio.

Paramount Classics co-headDavid Dinerstein said that he stood by his assertion that Paramount is the rightful owner of the movie.

An ownership spat eruptedover the weekend after both distributors claimed they had sealed a deal for allavailable worldwide rights including North America toReitman's tobacco industry satire.

"The fact that multiplestudios bid intensely for this movie is a testament to what Jason hasachieved," Sacks, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur andPayPal co-creator, said in his statement.

"However, I want to be clearthat only one studio, Fox Searchlight, bought the movie. Although this is myfirst movie, I am a lawyer, have run a large public company, and I know when mycompany has closed a deal, and when it hasn't. I was also represented by highlyexperienced industry professionals.

"I am now enthusiasticallylooking forward to the release of this film with Fox Searchlight, the bestpossible distributor to handle this movie."

Sacks and Room 9Entertainment were represented by Cassian Elwes of William Morris Independentand attorney David Bloomfield, a 15-year veteran entertainment lawyer who hasrepresented studios and producers.

At time of writing buyerswere circling a number of other titles at Toronto including David Ayer's HarshTimes, Sydney Pollack's Sketches Of Frank Gehry and DionysiusZervos' The Shore.

' Meanwhile here! Films has picked up North American rights from Fortissimo toManuel Gomez Pereira's ensemble comedy and Warner Bros Pictures Spainproduction Queens (Reinas).