Picturehouse in ‘Labyrinth’

Del Toro tale finds its way

Picturehouse has paid close to $6 million for North American rights to Mexican helmer Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

Picturehouse prexy Bob Berney led his team to close the long-gestating deal with Wild Bunch’s Carole Baraton at Sundance.

Set in fascist Spain in the 1940s, pic centers on Ofelia, a lonely and dreamy child who tries to come to terms with an era of postwar repression by creating a world filled with mythical creatures. Maribel Verdu, Sergi Lopez, Ivana Baquero and Doug Jones star.

“Guillermo has crafted a poetic film that combines several genres: horror, fantasy and war,” said Berney, who sees it appealing not only to the “Hellboy” helmer’s fan base but to the arthouse, genre and Spanish-language markets.

Picturehouse has slated an aggressive platform release in October. “Pan” is the first Spanish-language pickup for Picturehouse, the fledgling joint venture of HBO and New Line Cinema.

Berney will tap his past experience at IFC Films, where he helped drive Alfonso Cuaron’s “Y tu mama tambien” to gross nearly $14 million at the box office in 2002 and grab a screenwriting Oscar nom the following year.

Cuaron co-produced the $17.8 million pic along with partners Frida Torresblanco and del Toro and Tequila Gang’s Bertha Navarro. Spanish web Telecinco, through its production arm Estudios Picasso, put up most of the coin. Estudios Picasso chief Alvaro Augustin serves as exec producer.

While in Cannes, Wild Bunch grabbed worldwide sales rights to the pic; Warner Bros Intl. snapped up all rights to Spain and Latin America.

Picturehouse has in release Israeli comedy “Ushpizin” (The Guests) by Gidi Dar. Upcoming films include Michael Winterbottom’s “Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story”; Mary Harron’s “The Notorious Bettie Page,” starring Gretchen Mol; Steven Shainberg’s “Fur,” with Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr.; and Robert Altman’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” with Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Tommy Lee Jones.

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