Bekmambetov to Focus on English-language pics

Rogue Pictures has inked a first-look deal with Russian writer-director Timur Bekmambetov, who will develop English-language films for Focus Features’ genre unit.

Having bowed on New Year’s day, Bekmambetov’s “Day Watch” — the second film in his horror trilogy — is the highest-grossing pic ever released in Russia. The first film, “Night Watch,” also broke box office records and will be released in the U.S. next month by Fox Searchlight after a strong European run.

“We want to be filmmaker driven, because there are a lot of people in this genre space right now. Our deal with Bekmambetov will help us define who we are as a company,” said Rogue prexy of production Andrew Rona, who announced the deal with Rogue prexy David Linde.

Under the one-year pact, which is likely to be extended, Bekmambetov will develop projects to write and direct for Rogue.

Bekmambetov also is developing “Wanted” at Universal Pictures, parent studio of Focus Features/Rogue.

He and Tim Burton are producing, with Jim Lemley and Dana Ginsberg, Focus’ first animated feature, the fantasy epic “9,” from director Shane Acker.

Twentieth Century Fox has an option to develop and finance “Dusk Watch,” Bekmambetov’s planned third film in the “Night Watch” trilogy, as an English-language film.

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