Sony Pictures Entertainment has finalised its deal for the Peter Jackson-produced sci-fi District 9, taking North American rights and 'a significant number of foreign territories, including all English speaking territories'.

Sony began negotiations with the film's financier and worldwide sales agent QED International during the recent AFM in Santa Monica.

Jackson will produce through his WingNut Films, while Neill Blomkamp, his collaborator on the suspended Halo adaptation, makes his feature directorial debut.

Jackson's manager Ken Kamins of Key Creatives is serving as executive producer along with QED Intl partner and Key Creatives co-founder Bill Block.

Filming is set to begin in South Africa in spring 2008. The parties are keeping the storyline under wraps.

'Amy Pascal, Michael Lynton and Jeff Blake and the entire team at Sony really understand this film and we couldn't be more excited to be in business with them,' Block said. 'They are completely committed to the unique vision Neill and Peter have for District 9.'

'We have seen some of Neil's enormously creative work launching Halo 3 and he is a true talent who understands how to use visual effects in full service of the story,' Pascal said.

'With Peter Jackson and his team at WETA workshop working with Neil, we believe District 9 can be a true event tentpole on our release slate.'

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group's (SPWAG) president Peter Schlessel negotiated the deal with Kamins and attorneys Peter Nelson and Eric Suddleson on behalf of Jackson, and with Block and Paul Hanson for QED International.

SPWAG's senior vice president of acquisitions Lara Thompson was also integral in securing the rights.