Gallic film company fishes auds with horror remake

PARIS — After the B.O. success of “Land of the Dead” and other horror remakes, Gallic film company Wild Bunch is jumping into the deep end with a “Piranha” remake.

Company has a script for the project, penned by “Eraser” and “The Scorpion King” helmer Chuck Russell, that it will market for the first time at AFM.

Wild Bunch handled international sales on “Land of the Dead,” flogging worldwide rights to Universal, and it distributed the film theatrically in France.

Budgeted at E16 million-E20 million ($19.3 million-$24.1 million) and produced by Chiller Films, “Piranha” will shoot in the U.S. in March or April, Wild Bunch said Wednesday. Cast is not yet in place.

In the original 1978 “Piranha,” a particularly nasty prehistoric strain of the flesh-eating fish is unleashed in Arizona’s Lake Havasu just as college kids come to party there.

“What’s great about cult horror films is that their fame extends beyond the number of people who actually saw them. This means it is possible to surprise audiences and show them something fresh,” said Vincent Maraval, Wild Bunch’s international sales topper.

Wild Bunch’s AFM lineup of 30-odd films also includes Guillermo del Toro’s $17 million “Pan’s Labyrinth,” a first teaser of which will be shown to distribs. Pic, described by Maraval as “Alice in Wonderland Meets Hellboy,” was snapped up earlier this year by Warner Bros. Intl. for Spain and Latin America.

Other titles include the $17 million in-production “The Golden Door,” “Respiro” helmer Emanuel Crialese’s take on the experience of Italian immigrants to the U.S. in the early 1900s. Wild Bunch will be unspooling a promo reel at AFM.

“There’s a scene in ‘The Godfather’ showing the Corleone family’s arrival in America. The film is a very powerful story about how those people were treated,” said Maraval.

Although a number of territories have already been sold by Wild Bunch, “Che,” Steven Soderbergh’s life of Che Guevara, is on hold for AFM while budgetary issues are thrashed out.

Also screening at the market will be Abel Ferrara’s “Mary” and Bertrand Blier’s “How Much Do You Love Me?,” starring Monica Bellucci.

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