Germany's B.O. hit one of several to be distribbed annually

Senator Intl., the newly formed sales and distribution company headed by president Joe Drake, has acquired worldwide rights outside German-speaking territories and Japan for the psychological thriller “Das Experiment,” starring Moritz Bleibtreu (“Run Lola Run”).

A box-office hit in Germany that has grossed almost $8 million since its release March 8, “Experiment” is the tale of 20 male participants hired to play prisoners and guards in a makeshift prison complete with cells and surveillance cameras, but the game escalates into a bitter and dangerous battle.

Pic is the directorial debut of Oliver Hirschbiegel and was adapted by Mario Giordano, Christoph Darnstaedt and Don Bohlinger from Giordano’s novel “Black Box.”

Pic was produced by Nobert Preuss, Marc Conrad and Friedrich Wildfeuer and is a co-production of Fanes Film and Typhoon Films. The winner of three prizes at the Bavarian Film Awards, “Experiment” has been nominated for three Lola Awards, Germany’s equivalent of the Oscars.

Under Drake’s direction, Senator Intl. plans to handle worldwide distribution of three to five big-budget features annually, kicking off with the thriller “24 Hours.” Directed by Luis Mandoki, and produced by Mandoki and Mimi Polk-Gitlin, pic and stars Charlize Theron and Kevin Bacon in the story of a physician and his wife who take matters into their own hands when their daughter is abducted. Columbia Pictures will release in the U.S.

“Hours” is fully financed by Senator, which produces with Mark Canton’s the Canton Co., Propaganda Films and Mandolin Entertainment. Exec producer credits are shared by Canton, Neil Canton, Hanno Huth, Glen Ballard and Rick Hess, with Lorenz and Nathan Kahane as co-producers.

In addition to acquiring specialized projects like “Experiment” for distribution under the Senator Intl. banner, Drake will work with Senator Entertainment USA prexy Carsten Lorenz to establish partnerships with the studios on split-rights deals as well as oversee Senator’s joint production and financing ventures.

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