Universal Pictures International (UPI)'s newly-reconfigured overseas sales operation is close to finalising sales on Ridley Scott's Hannibal to Germany's Tobis and Japan's Gaga Communications.

UPI, which is working closely with producer Dino De Laurentiis on selling certain territories, is also floating the Silence Of The Lambs sequel in several other markets. Tobis is close to taking theatrical and video rights, while Gaga is expected to take all rights.

Hannibal, which is set to start shooting next month, has a purported budget of more than $85m. Back-ends on the picture, which MGM is handling in the US, are understood to come to around 30%.

Other high-profile studio projects that UPI is floating to international buyers include the $90m The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle, which stars Robert DeNiro and Rene Russo. The London-based sales team is understood to have struck a raft of deals on the live-action meets animation title and is close to a deal for the UK. The move is seen as a bid to find a middle way between split rights deals and shouldering a film's entire risk.