Nexo, New Line ink

'Rings' link nixed

ROME — Neophyte Italian distrib Nexo has consolidated its relationship with U.S. producer New Line, securing five titles at AFM for next season.

But a deal to handle national release of New Line’s big-budget fantasy trilogy “Lord of the Rings” has been abandoned.

Nexo has acquired all Italian rights to Ted Demme’s drug drama “Blow,” starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz; Andrew Niccol’s “Simone,” about a producer entangled with his computer-generated star, with Al Pacino and Catherine Keener; and P.J. Hogan’s comedy-drama “Unconditional Love,” starring Kathy Bates and Rupert Everett.

Also acquired from New Line at AFM were Nick Cassavetes’ thriller “John Q,” starring Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall and Anne Heche; and John Cameron Mitchell’s transgender musical-drama “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” a hit at the recent Sundance and Berlin festivals.

“There were certain points on which we were unable to reach an arrangement that satisfied both sides, so it was decided by mutual agreement to drop the ‘Lord of the Rings’ deal,” said Nexo chief Ernesto Di Sarro. “But our relationship with New Line remains excellent.”

While the deal has not yet been finalized, Italian rights to the “Rings” trilogy now appear likely to go to national market leader Medusa.

Nexo is one of a number of new Italian distribs established or expanded last year to fill the breach created as industry titan Cecchi Gori scaled back operations due to financial difficulties.

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