Deals afoot as market hits stride

Distant Horizon, Universum among busy buyers

Distant Horizon has picked up North American rights to the Donnie Yen action film "Flash Point" from Hong Kong-based Mandarin Films in one the many reported deals as business at the Marche du Film starts to heat up.

The Distant Horizon buy comes after the company's success with Yip Wai-shun's "SPL" (released as "Kill Zone" in the U.S.), which also starred Yen. The London- and Los Angeles-based company has a tradition of introducing Asian action cinema to North American audiences, Distant Horizon president Anant Singh said.

Produced by Nansun Shi, "Flash Point" is set in Hong Kong in 1997, the year the territory returned from Britain to China. Yen plays a tough cop working undercover with Louis Koo ("Election") to take down a gang of brothers played by Collin Chou ("The Matrix Reloaded") and Xing Yu ("Dragon Tiger Gate").

Meanwhile, Germany's Universum Film has picked up three titles at Cannes, grabbing Mandate Pictures' thriller "Passengers," starring Anne Hathaway; Summit Entertainment's science fiction thriller "Push"; and, in a direct-to-DVD deal, the French sci-fi horror pic "Chrysalis" from Gaumount.

Paul McGuigan ("Lucky Number Slevin") will direct "Push" from David Bourla's script about a rogue psychic who teams with a 13-year-old clairvoyant to take on a secret government agency. In-demand young actor Channing Tatum will star in the picture, set to begin shooting in August in Hong Kong.

Two other North American pickups signed in Cannes were the boxing drama "Poor Boy's Game," starring Rossif Sutherland and Danny Glover, which Seville Pictures sold to ThinkFilm, and Funny Boy Films' "Naked Boys Singing," which TLA Releasing picked up in a theatrical/DVD deal that also included all U.K. rights. TLA also grabbed U.K. rights to "Poor Boy's Game" from Seville.

Other deals signed at the market include:

2929 International sold Barry Levinson's "What Just Happened?" to Pathe in the U.K., Concorde in Germany, Medusa for Italy, TF1 for France and Manga for Spain. 2929's "Hopscotch" also sold to Concorde, Medusa, TF1 and Manga.

Madrid-based S2 International has taken all rights for Spain and Portugal on Sola Media's animal documentary "The Turtle Song." Earlier in the market, "Turtle" sold to Polyband for Germany.

Arthouse Films said that it has acquired North American DVD rights to the Henri Cartier-Bresson double-DVD boxed set from French outfit MK2.

House of Knowledge world sales sold Kim Cattrall's HBO docu "Kim Cattrall: Sexual Intelligence" to Constantin Film in Germany, Dutch Film Works for Benelux, Noble Entertainment for Scandinavia and All Media Rights in Belgium.

Hollywood House of Horrors inked all-rights deals for "Curse of the Zodiac" with Lionsgate Films for the U.S., Manga in Spain, Dutch Film works in Benelux, Noble in Scandinavia, Private Cinema in Greece and Fortress Digital Technology for Taiwan. The group's "HP Lovecraft's the Tomb" signed all deals with Lionsgate (U.S.), Peacock (Australia), Cineworld (Germany), Private Cinema (Greece) and Zazie (Japan).