French sales agent Wild Bunch is poised to pick up world sales rights to animated feature Spirited Away during the Berlin Film Festival. The picture, which was a late addition to the Berlinale competition, is the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time.
The fantasy, directed by Hayao Miyazaki of the legendary Studio Ghibli, grossed a colossal $201m (Y24.6bn) in Japan after 14 weeks on release. Spirited Away has sold 19 million tickets , comfortably ahead of the previous admissions record of 17 million, set by 1997's Titanic.
Wild Bunch is already representing the film here, although it has yet to finalise the last details on its contract. Headed by Vincent Maraval and Alan De La Mata, Wild Bunch is affiliated to - but operated independently of - French giant StudioCanal.
The film is merely the latest addition for Wild Bunch to an already mighty slate of new pictures to be sold at Berlin and the American Film Market. Other brand new additions include Madame Sata, by writer-director Karim Ainouz, which is "presented by" Walter Salles; Dead End, an English-language genre movie by the Cortes brothers and UK director Peter Mullen's Magdalena.
Also new on the slate are three US pick-ups and another picture chaperoned by Salles: City Of God, a drug-trafficking epic by Fernando Merelles. The US trio are Spun, Peter Sollet's Summer, tipped for a place in Cannes and Sundance competition film Love Liza.
Maraval describes Spun as "one of the biggest and most insane pictures we have ever handled". It stars Mena Suvari , John Leguizamo, Brittany Murphy, Mickey Rourke, Deborah Harry and Peter Stormare.