Weinstein Co. digs 'Diary of the Dead'

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TORONTO -- The dead have risen. In a sale that once seemed as slow as a zombie, Weinstein Co. stepped up and bought North American and Mexican rights to "George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead" for $2 million-$2.5 million.

The latest sequel to Romero's 1968 horror classic "Night of the Living Dead" closed Tuesday night after several offers were considered, including some for video-only distribution. The Weinstein Co. deal includes a theatrical commitment.

While R-rated horror movies didn't perform well at the boxoffice earlier this summer, the Weinstein Co.'s "Halloween," released by MGM, bucked the trend with a record-breaking Labor Day opening. "Dead" premiered late Saturday in the Midnight Madness section at Toronto and spooked out crowds.

The Artfire Films/Romero-Grunwald Prods. film was written and directed by Romero, produced by Peter Grunwald, Art Spigel, Sam Englebardt and Ara Katz, and executive produced by Dan Fireman, John Harrison and Steve Barnett.

Cinetic Media repped the filmmakers in the sale. The Weinstein Co.'s Barry Gordon and Michal Podell repped the sale for the distributor.
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