Kinowelt lands Pegasos library, eyes DVD

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COLOGNE, Germany -- German independent film firm Kinowelt has acquired art house distributor/producer Pegasos Filmverleih, the companies said Tuesday.

The deal gives Kinowelt the rights to the more than 80 feature films in the Pegasos library.

Titles in the library include 1998 Palme d'Or winner "Eternity and a Day" from Greek director Theo Angelopoulos, Emir Kusturica's "Super 8 Stories" and Christian Petzold's terrorist drama "The State I Am In."

Of particular interest to Kinowelt are the documentaries in Pegasos' archives, including Ulrich Koch's "Aesshaek, Tales From the Sahara" and "Darshan the Embrace" from Dutch helmer Jan Kounen.

Leipzig-based Kinowelt said it sees potential in Pegasos because a majority of its films have not yet been released on DVD. Kinowelt plans to rectify this, bringing out Pegasos' titles on its Arthaus label.

Previously released films will, starting in March, be handled by Kinowelt's flagship brand, Kinowelt Home Entertainment, the company said. Good Movies was the firm's previous release partner.

Kinowelt's theatrical arm, Kinowelt Filmverleih, will take over distribution of Pegasos films beginning in January.

Pegasos founders Ernst Szebedits and Karl Baumgartner will remain with the company as consultants. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.

Kinowelt has been breaking records in German theaters in recent weeks with the documentary "Deutschland. Ein Sommermaerchen" ("Germany. A Summer Fairytale") about the German soccer team's journey from preparations to winning third place in this summer's soccer World Cup in Germany. The film has won its third straight weekend at the boxoffice and passed the 2.7 million ticket sales mark. This has made it the country's most successful documentary ever, beating the 1.45 million viewers that "March of the Penguins" attracted.

Georg Szalai in New York contributed to this report.
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