N. American ‘Reckoning’ comes to Par Classics

Bettany, Defoe star in murder mystery

Paramount Classics has acquired North American distribution rights to Paul McGuigan’s “The Reckoning” as part of a multiterritory deal.

Par Classics also has acquired the $14 million film from U.K.-based Renaissance Films for distribution in Latin America, South Africa, Australasia and Japan.

The medieval murder mystery starring Paul Bettany and Willem Defoe was originally titled “Morality Play.” Adapted from Barry Unsworth’s novel by Mark Mills, it follows the fortunes of a young priest (Bettany) on the run who atones for his past sins by saving the life of an innocent woman accused of murder.

Renaissance co-managing director Angus Finney and Adam Krentzman of CAA negotiated the deal with Par Classics co-prexys Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein.

” ‘The Reckoning’ is very clearly told and brilliantly executed. Paul is a filmmaker of incredible vision. He has taken this genre and created a film that is fresh and exciting,” Vitale and Dinerstein said.

Par Classics’ fall slate includes writer-director Ed Burns’ romantic comedy “Sidewalks of New York,” bowing Nov. 21. Its 2002 release slate includes “Les ames fortes,” directed by Raul Ruiz; Fisher Stevens’ “Just a Kiss”; and “Triumph of Love,” directed by Clare Peploe.

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