'Riddick' heats up European Film Market

Third film in sci-fi series was one of most sought-after at EFM

BERLIN -- "Riddick," the third entry in the sci-fi series that began with 2000's Vin Diesel starrer "Pitch Black" and one of the most sought-after titles at EFM, has been picked by Central Partnership for Russia.

Lionsgate is handling international sales, and the asking price for Russia was $2.2 million. But reflecting how in demand the title is and a reawakening of the presales market, a bidding war erupted among Russia's major distributors, with the final price going above $2.5 million.

The project was unveiled to buyers at a nighttime presentation Saturday with Diesel present.

While some buyers have noted the prices for "Riddick" are high, it feels tailor-made for the Russian market, which is big on high-flying action and sci-fi epics.

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"Riddick" delivers on both counts. Though billed as a back-to-basics approach to the character popularized by Diesel, the script features the character -- the most wanted man in the galaxy -- left for dead on a barren alien planet, dealing with "trisons" (three-legged bisons) and "mud demons." He must then contend with two squads of bounty hunters, one of which ride rockets called jetcycles.