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Japanese cool it

Comstock nabs 4 in quiet mart for Nippon

Comstock Group has been one of the most active buyers from Japan in an otherwise quiet-ish market for acquisitions by Nippon distributors.

Comstock Group bought three films from France’s Wild Bunch: Luc Jacquet’s wildlife adventure “Fox and Child,” Gilles De Maistre’s “The First Cry” and “Dante 01,” a sci-fi nightmare by “Delicatessen” helmer Marc Caro.

Comstock also picked up Russian film “Street Raiders.”

Toshiba picked up “Once,” helmed by John Carney, a contempo musical about a busker and an immigrant who fall in love, which screened at Sundance. Pic is repped by Summit Entertainment.

Pathe U.K. was locked in a four- or five-way bid battle for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” the French- and English-language adaptation of the bestselling autobiography by Jean-Dominique Bauby, the crippled former editor of Elle magazine.

“Such an unusual story and the strength of the Elle brand name in Japan explain the interest in this film,” said one buyer no longer in the “Diving Bell” race. “But otherwise, all the Japanese distributors have been pretty disappointed with what is on offer here and the Competition films have especially been a letdown. They either don’t work for us or they were sold before we came to Berlin.”

The Weinstein Co. was reported to be close to a Japan deal on “Grace Is Gone, starring John Cusack. Pic is about a woman soldier whose death in Iraq is kept from her children. Asking price for Japan is said to be $750,000 with likely deal price around $500,000

CJ Entertainment said it was close to signing two deals for Japan, including one for competition film “I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK.” Company said that will be significant given the way that Japanese deals for Korean titles have dried up in the past year.

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