7 Arts closing in on ‘Onegin’

Distrib eyeing all int'l rights

VENICE — Peter Hoffman’s Seven Arts Pictures is in advanced negotiations with Rysher Entertainment to buy all international rights to “Onegin,” starring Ralph Fiennes.

Hoffman is believed to be offering around $10 million for the rights to the period pic, which is directed by Martha Fiennes (Ralph’s sister) and is in final stages of post-production. Hoffman is understood not to have seen the movie.

Pic co-stars Liv Tyler, Jude Law and Martin Donovan. Michael Ignatieff and Peter Ettedgui wrote the screenplay based on Alexander Pushkin’s novel, “Eugene Onegin.” Ileen Maisel and Simon Bosanquet are producers, with Ralph Fiennes exec producing.

Sources with knowledge of the deal said that, subject to its closing, Seven Arts will take over responsibility for all territories where the film has already been sold, which include the U.K. (Entertainment Film Distributors) and Spain (Aurum).

Seven Arts will be seeking deals in those countries still available, which include the U.S., France, Germany and Australia.

“We’re very excited about this film,” said one senior Rysher exec. “It appears to be shaping up very well.”

Put together with the success of Rysher’s “The Opposite of Sex” (which Sony Pictures Classics released in the U.S.), the developing buzz on “Onegin” suggests that the TV company may be experiencing a belated surge of success with its film titles.

However, “Onegin” was the last project to be greenlit by Rysher before parent Cox Broadcasting decided to pull the company out of film.

It is that, rather than the way the film is turning out, that explains Rysher’s eagerness now to get the pic off its hands.

Seven Arts has a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures. Rysher would not comment and Hoffman could not be reached.

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