In the first major buy of the London Screenings, United Artists (UA) has acquired worldwide rights to The Sales Co's UK comedy Born Romantic, which world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and closes next month's London Film Festival.

Sales Co chief Alison Thompson confirmed the deal, which does not include Italy. For MGM and UA, the move is expected to mark a renewed interest in acquisitions out of the UK. While US-based Sara Rose continues to head acquisitions, London-based Gina Stroud, executive vice-president of distribution and marketing, is expected to help cover European acquisitions.

The deal was concluded by Thompson, MGM worldwide distribution chief Larry Gleason and Stroud. The acquisition also provides MGM with product to fill its ancillary deals following its decision to close UK-based specialist arm United Artists Films under Wendy Palmer and route titles through 20th Century Fox internationally.

But the studio is apparently also considering striking deals with independent distributors to theatrically release at least some of the local films it boards.

UA has been gradually building up its US release schedule with titles including The Claim, which came through its London arm under Palmer, and pictures such as Monster and Jeepers Creepers, which are amongst the first to emerge from a multi-title deal with Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope. MGM also recently picked up domestic rights to Chen Kaige's Killing Me Softly, produced by the Montecito Film Co.

Born Romantic, about three men who join a salsa class to woo three women, marks director David Kane's follow-up to UK hit This Year's Love. It stars Craig Ferguson, Ian Hart, Jane Horrocks, Adrian Lester, Catherine McCormack, Jimi Mistry, David Morrissey and Olivia Williams.