Cinemax picks up Arau’s ‘Pieces’ for new series

'First on Max' to host pic's cable preem

Cinemax, HBO’s sibling pay network, has acquired the premium pay cable rights to “Picking Up the Pieces,” a dark comedy from Alfonso Arau (“A Walk in the Clouds”).

Pic, which features Woody Allen, David Schwimmer, Cheech Marin and Kiefer Sutherland, as well as an unbilled performance by Sharon Stone, will premiere May 26 as part of the cabler’s “First on Max” series.

Beginning last April, Cinemax has been on a shopping spree for busted theatricals to air as part of “First on Max,” the monthly lineup of exclusive American movie premieres.

Sources say the producers of “Picking Up the Pieces” — which was up for sale in February at the American Film Market in Los Angeles — will be shopping the film to distributors at the Cannes film fest in May.

The premium pay cable deal gives the filmmakers the right to shop home vid or theatrical rights to the project 45 days after its premiere on Cinemax.

For instance, after premiering on “First on Max” in February, “Oxygen,” featuring Adrien Brody and Maura Tierney, was distributed theatrically by Unapix. It is rare, however, for a film that has premiered on cable to be picked up for theatrical distribution.

“Pieces” was exec produced by Arau, Mimi Polk Gitlin (“Thelma & Louise”), Peter Locke (“The Last Time I Committed Suicide”) and Donald Kushner.

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