Warner Bros. Pictures France has signed an exclusive distribution deal with French production house Les Films Christian Fechner for four upcoming comedies.

'We're excited to be in business with a film-maker of Christian's stature as we continue our in-country local-language production and distribution initiative,' said Francis Boespflug, managing director, Warner Bros. Pictures France. 'The talent associated with the films covered under this agreement is phenomenal, and we expect these films to enjoy great success with French audiences.'

All four projects are comedies, Fechner's strongpoint both as a director and a producer. The first film covered by the deal is Chouchou, starring Gad Elmaleh and Alain Chabat, which is due to start shooting this summer.

The other films are: an untitled project by Jean Becker, director of French hits Un Crime Au Paradis (2 million admissions in France in 2001), Les Enfants Du Marais (2 million admissions in 1999) and Elisa (2.5 million admissions in 1995), all produced by Christian Fechner.

Also part of the deal are spoof comedy L'Homme Qui Murmurait A L'Oreille Des Femmes (The Woman Whisperer), starring Franck Dubosc, Benoit Poelvoorde and Isabelle Nanty and spoof comedy Moyen Men, written by and starring comedy duo Eric Judor and Ramzy Bedia, both of which are to start shooting later this year.

Boespflug, who was instrumental in reviving Warner France's involvement in local productions, has had two extremely successfully comedies in the past couple of years, La Verite Si Je Mens (a co-production with Vertigo Films) which topped the charts last year with a massive 8 million ticket sales, and Le Boulet (a partnership with La Petite Reine) which held the top slot at the French box office in its first two weeks this year and has attracted some 2.5 million admissions so far.