Maple grows on Leigh's 'Happy-Go-Lucky'

Canadian distributor picks up comedy from Miramax

TORONTO -- Canadian distributor Maple Pictures has picked up domestic rights to the Mike Leigh comedy "Happy-Go-Lucky" from Miramax Films.

The sale has prompted speculation that Maple Pictures is set to sign a Canadian distribution deal with Miramax after the U.S. studio did not renew its previous agreement with Alliance Films when it expired Dec. 31.

Maple Pictures, which handles Lionsgate product in Canada, said it has no news to announce at this time.

New York-based Miramax in April released Noam Munro's "Smart People" in Canada on its own as it opened negotiations with new potential distribution partners, including Maple.

Representatives at Miramax were not available for comment at press time.

U.S. distributors typically acquire the North American rights to movies, and then sub-license them in Canada via output deals with local partners.

Alliance Films, which previously released Miramax titles in Canada since 1994, recently lost a second long-running deal, this time with New Line Cinema after that studio's product went in-house to Warner Bros.

Miramax bought "Happy-Go-Lucky" at Berlin and will bring the British comedy, which stars Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan, to the Toronto International Film Festival for a North American premiere in September.
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