Top Mexican directors team up

Del Toro, Cuaron, Inarritu shop for five-picture deal

The Three Amigos are looking to convert their recent clout into a five-picture deal for them and two Mexican compadres.

Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu — the Mexican directing triumvirate who made a splash on last season’s awards circuit — have banded together with Cuaron’s younger brother, tyro helmer Carlos, and “Passengers” director Rodrigo Garcia to shop the slate at Universal and other studios. Each helmer would direct one project; the combined budget totals $100 million.

Participants cautioned Monday that the deal, first reported in the Los Angeles Times, is far from sealed. Inarritu’s rep said discussions “are in the third inning of a nine-inning game.”

The three better known helmers are repped by three separate tenpercenteries — Gonzalez Inarritu by CAA, Cuaron by William Morris and del Toro by Endeavor. All three agencies are participating in the negotiations.

Universal would seem to have the inside track given its relationship with the trio. The studio released Cuaron’s “Children of Men” last year and will release del Toro’s “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” next year; its Focus Features arm distribbed Inarritu’s “21 Grams.” During the kudos season, del Toro enthused about working with U production prexy Donna Langley.

Deal’s focus on international rights underscores the growing importance of overseas box office to studios. Last year, it jumped 9% to $8.6 billion for the majors. Several studios, Sony among them, are beefing up their international productions to meet growing demand.

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