UPI signs up French, U.K. distribs for Coens’ movie

Bac, Redbus to drive 'O Brother', 'Hannibal' deals discussed

LONDON — Universal Pictures Intl. has sold French rights to the Coens’ Cannes Intl. Film Festival entry “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” to Jean Labadie’s Bac Films and is negotiating a U.K. deal with Redbus Film Distribution.

The decision to sell the pic off in two such key territories was partly a response to the overcrowded release slate of United Intl. Pictures, and partly to the passion of Bac and Redbus to have the film.

Although Redbus is only a year old, it will be familiar territory for the Coens, since the company has hired most of the former Polygram distribution team that handled the U.K. releases of their “Fargo” and “The Big Lebowski.”

At the same time, UPI is working closely with Dino De Laurentiis to sell off several foreign territories for “Hannibal,” the “Silence of the Lambs” sequel that starts shooting in Italy next month. Deals are reportedly close with Tobis in Germany and Gaga in Japan, as well as distribs in Italy, South Korea and Scandinavia.

The only “Hannibal” territories that UPI looks certain to keep for UIP are the U.K., France and Latin America.

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