Weinsteins in Alliance

Deal covers 80 pics and runs until 2009

Bob and Harvey Weinstein will release all upcoming pics from the Weinstein Co. and Dimension Films in Canada via distrib Alliance Atlantis.

Pact, announced Monday, is for 80 films and runs until Dec. 31, 2009. No financial details were revealed.

Deal was widely expected, as the Weinsteins have a long history with Victor Loewy, CEO of the Alliance Atlantis distribution company. Alliance released 280 Miramax films in Canada while that company was run by the Weinsteins.

Alliance is already releasing Weinstein Co. output on a picture-by-picture basis.

Upcoming pics covered by the deal include “School for Scoundrels,” with Billy Bob Thornton; helmer Anthony Minghella’s “Breaking and Entering,” starring Jude Law, Robin Wright Penn and Juliette Binoche; helmer John Madden’s “Killshot”; thriller “Lucky Number Slevin,” with Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis and Lucy Liu; “Sin City 2”; and Kevin Smith’s “The Passion of the Clerks.”

Separately, Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution announced that it has acquired all Canadian rights to Montreal helmer Francois Girard’s romantic drama “Silk,” starring Michael Pitt, Keira Knightley, Koji Yakusho (“Memoirs of a Geisha”) and Alfred Molina.

Pic, based on the bestselling novel by Alessandro Baricco, tells the story of a 19th-century French silkworm merchant who travels to Japan and begins a clandestine romance.

The Canadian/Italian/Japanese co-production is produced by Niv Fichman, Nadine Luque, Domenico Procacci and Sonoko Sakai.

Alliance will release in Canada, Fandango in Italy and Asmik Ace in Japan. New Line Intl. has all other international territories.

Lensing begins at the end of February in Matsumoto, Japan, and will be completed in Italy in late May.

Feature is Girard’s first since arthouse hit “The Red Violin.”

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