Popular Italian comedianCarlo Verdone has signed on to star in the sequel to the Manual ofLove, the hit Aurelio DeLaurentiis-produced titled that earned almost $17m (Euros 15m) at thelocal box officelast year and sold to 15 countries worldwide.

Entitled Manual of Love:The Stories, the film will bedirected by Giovanni Veronesi and released by Filmauro in Italy nextJanuary.

Filmauro is also lining up anew comedy entitled Christmas in Rio, the latest in its 20-year franchise of blockbuster Natalepictures -- but the first without Massimo Boldi who starred in all theothers alongside Christian De Sica.

De Laurentiis is alsoramping up Filmauro's distribution slate. Upcoming releases include TheWhite Masai, Eric Toledano andOlivier Nakache's Those Happy Days (Ces Jours Heureux) and Roland Joffe's Captivity.