AFM ends with Summit on high

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Most film sales companies left the American Film Market disappointed, but Summit Entertainment was an exception.

"It's been a major sea change. You're basically in or out," said Summit co-chairman and president Patrick Wachsberger, who pulled out late sales of the thriller "The Book of Eli" to Entertainment U.K. and Japan's Kadokawa as AFM wrapped Wednesday.

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group inked a multiterritory distribution rights deal for Alcon Entertainment's "Eli," starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman. Territories in the deal include Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, South Africa, Latin America and much of Asia and Eastern Europe.

SPWAG's Scott Shooman negotiated with Wachsberger, who repped Alcon in the deal.

"Buyers are looking at the same five to 10 movies with the potential to work theatrically." Wachsberger said. "Since the DVD market is flat or decreasing and TV is more difficult, we're back to days where theatrical is key. You cannot afford to do movie without stars."

While Warners will distribute "Eli" domestically, Summit also sold the film in such other territories as France (Metropolitan), Benelux (Paradiso), Greece (Odeon), Germany (Tobis), Israel (United King), Italy (Rai/01), the Middle East (Jaguar) and South Korea (KD Media).

Summit also found buyers for Imagi Animation's "Astro Boy" in Australia (Hoyts), Benelux (Benga), Poland (Monolith), Portugal (Lusomundo), France (SND), Greece (Odean), Israel (United King) and South Korea (KD Medea).

Giuseppe Tornatore's "Baaria" sold to Italy, Benelux, Greece, Israel, Latin America, Portugal, South Korea and Spain, while Roman Polanski's political thriller "The Ghost" went to Latin America, Italy, Greece and Benelux.

In other AFM news, GreeneStreet Films International closed several deals on "Frozen," an snowbound thriller being produced by Peter Block's A Bigger Boat and Adam Green's ArieScope Pictures.

Green is writing and directing the film about three skiers who are stranded on a chair lift and forced to make life-or-death choices. (partialdiff)
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