‘Rings’ bounty

Distrib Hadida pacts with New Line

French producer distributor Samuel Hadida has struck a four-year output deal with New Line and, cash-rich from the moneyspinning “Lord of the Rings,” also unveiled his own $120 million production slate.

Hadida’s Davis Films this year will co-produce the $28 million Canadian historical romance “Nouvelle France” and is producing “At the End of the World Turn Left,” an $8 million-$10 million multilingual comedy set in Israel.

The two pics join the already announced “The Bridge of San Luis Rey” and “Resident Evil 2.”

Hadida’s distribution company Metropolitan goes a long way back with New Line. Metropolitan released a raft of the U.S. company’s pics dating back to the ’80s, but this is the first time the two have signed an exclusive output deal.

“Before we were buying packages, every year we were the distributors of New Line, but now we’ve tied the knot. It is great because New Line is the bones, the architecture of our distribution in France,” Hadida says.

The success of the “Rings” franchise has made Metropolitan one France’s financially healthiest distributors at a time when other Gallic companies have been suffering the effects of the pay crisis — with the cashstrapped Canal Plus being more choosier about its acquisitionsthan in the past.

Says theatrical distribution topper Victor Hadida: “Because of ‘Lord the Rings,’ we have enjoyed a successful year. This has allowed us take more steps in production financing.”

“San Luis Rey,” currently shooting, has an all-star ensemble cast including Robert De Niro, Kathy Bates, Gabriel Byrne,Harvey Keitel and French actors including Samuel Le Bihan and Emilie Dequenne, who starred in “The Brotherhood of the Wolf.”

Senator is handling worldwide sales. “Resident Evil 2,” a Davis, Constantin Films and Impact Picture co-production, will start shooting this August. Milla Jovovich reprises her starring role in the first pic. Screen Gems has U.S. rights as well as other selected territories, with international sales handled by Intermedia-Summit.

“Nouvelle France,” which started pre-production three weeks ago, is the most costly Canadian pic to be made this year and is majority co-produced by Canadian Richard Goudereau’s Melenny Production.

The historical romance about a Canadian figure of folklore, a peasant girl called Marie-Loup, will be helmed by Jean Beaudin. It begins shooting in Quebec in August.

Hadida pitches “At the End of the World Turn Left” as ” ‘The Full Monty’ meets ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ meets ‘La verite si je mens.’ ”

The pic in English, French, Hebrew and Arabic describes the culture clash — and reconciliation — between Moroccans and Indian communities living in the same small village in Israel.

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