Atari vidgame races to bigscreen

Focus Features genre division Rogue Pictures has picked up distribution rights to writer-helmer Roger Avary’s bigscreen adaptation of Atari vidgame “Driver.”

Pic centers on a getaway driver for hire, the best in the heist biz, who is put to the test on a job. Avary is penning the script.

Rogue prexy Andrew Rona said the film banner will look to pump the property beyond any core gamer demo.

“Only a handful of videogame properties mean something on their own, like ‘Halo,’ ” he said. “Game awareness is a good selling point, but we are also looking at this as being a great action movie.”

Rogue acquired the pic from “Resident Evil” franchise creator Constantin Film and its Impact Pictures subsid.

Impact’s Jeremy Bolt and Paul W.S. Anderson are producing, with Constantin’s Bernd Eichinger and Robert Kulzer.

Rogue takes worldwide distribution rights in the deal, excluding Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland, which Constantin keeps.

Foreign sales will be handled by Focus’ international division, headed by U.K.-based Alison Thompson.

Avary recently penned another upcoming pic based on a vidgame, “Silent Hill,” which Focus Intl. is handling. Sony is distribbing domestically.

Upcoming Rogue releases include Vondie Curtis-Hall’s “Waist Deep,” sports comedy “Balls of Fury” and Jet Li starrer “Fearless.”

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