Weinsteins picks up rights to 'Operation'
Bryan Singer’s “Valkyrie” may not hit theaters until next year, but the Weinstein Co. has picked up U.S. theatrical, DVD and TV rights to Jo Baier’s 2004 German take on the failed plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, “Operation Valkyrie.”Pic, a TV production for pubcaster ARD, stars Sebastian Koch (“The Lives of Others”) as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg who unsuccessfully tried to blow up the Fuhrer (portrayed by Tom Cruise in Singer’s film) with a briefcase bomb. Munich-based Beta Film, which is handling international sales for “Operation Valkyrie,” also sold Paolo Sorrentino’s Cannes jury award winner “Il Divo” to the U.K.’s Artificial Eye and Greece’s Odeon Film. Beta inked a number of deals with U.S. distribs for German pics at last week’s Cannes film mart. First Look Studios picked up Florian Baxmeyer’s tyke mystery “The Three Investigators and the Secret of Skeleton Island”; First Run Features nabbed Veit Helmer’s “Absurdistan” and Dani Levy’s Third Reich satire “Mein Fuhrer”; and 7th Art took Luigi Falorni’s Berlinale screener “Heart of Fire” about a girl soldier forced to fight in the Eritrean civil war. “Absurdistan,” which is screening at upcoming fests in Karlovy Vary and Moscow, also went to ICA in the U.K. and Bonton for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Beta’s Academy Award-winning World War II drama “The Counterfeiters” sold throughout Asia, going to China’s Dequan, South Korea’s Mediasoft, India’s UTV, Tempo in Taiwan, Panorama for Hong Kong and to Shooting Stars in the Middle East,. “Falco,” a biopic about the late 1980s Austrian pop singer, went to Germany’s NFP and Atyp for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Company also inked a number of presales for upcoming Teutonic titles, including Hermine Huntgeburth’s “Effi,” starring Koch, to Polish distrib Monolith and Max Faerberboeck’s “Anonyma” to Portugal’s Multimedia. Robert Dornhelm’s adaptation of Puccini’s “La Boheme” went to Palace for Australia and New Zealand and Hollywood Classic for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Monolith and Bonton also picked up Philipp Stoelzl’s mountain-climbing drama “Nordwand” (North Face), which also went to Hungary’s Best Hollywood and Pa-Dora for Serbia and Montenegro. Beta’s own acquisitions include Egoli Tossell’s upcoming “Hilde” (The Gift Horse), Kai Wessel’s biopic about German star Hildegard Knef, and Spanish helmer David Pinillos’ “Bon Appetit,” a drama about three chefs working in a cutting-edge Swiss restaurant.