North American buyers continued an aggressive streak yesterday as new deals were unveiled on at least four films and a bidding war erupted over well-liked Bosnian competition contender No Man's Land.
Sony Pictures Classics acquired North American rights to Fabian Bielinsky's Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens), a box office sensation in its native Argentina last year with a double-twisting story about con artists that invites comparisons with David Mamet's House Of Games. The deal was sealed with Patagonik Film Group after the film was spotted at New York's New Directors' festival.
IFC Films has acquired all North American rights to Next Wave Films' Manic, starring Don Cheadle and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt. Directed by Jordan Melamed, the film was shot on digital video through Next Wave's new digital production arm Agenda 2000 and world premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Bob Berney, who runs IFC Films, is also overseeing the release of Newmarket Films' Memento, which continued its extraordinary run at the US box office this weekend, passing the $10m mark and entering the top ten at number nine.
Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group acquired worldwide rights to Palm Pictures' Lockdown, a tale of three friends wrongly imprisoned in New Mexico State Penitentiary. The picture features hip-hop giant Master P, who also served as the executive producer and is responsible for the film's soundtrack. Columbia TriStar previously bought worldwide rights to Black And White from Palm.
As a further example of the growing synergies between Universal Pictures and StudioCanal, it emerged that Universal Focus will handle domestic distribution on Elie Chouraqui's Harrison's Flowers, the Bosnian-set drama about photojournalists caught in the conflict and starring Andie MacDowell, David Strathairn, Elias Koteas, Adrien Brody and Brendan Gleeson. StudioCanal premiered the film at MIFED.
Meanwhile, The Sales Co reported that multiple offers were in on No Man's Land in every territory including the US, with only Golem in Spain closed at time of going to press.