Title begins company's pact with Dark Castle

Optimum Releasing, the U.K. distrib owned by StudioCanal, has plugged into its parent company’s existing relationship with Joel Silver’s Dark Castle shingle and acquired Dominic Sena’s action thriller “Whiteout.”

Pic is first title in a multi-picture between Optimum and Dark Castle.

“Whiteout,” based on Greg Rucka’s graphic novel, follows a U.S. Marshal stationed in Antarctica with only three days to investigate the continent’s first murder before the start of winter. Brit thesp Kate Beckinsale stars in the lead role.

“Developing strong relationships with companies such as Dark Castle is key to our plans for growing the mainstream side of our slate,” said Optimum CEO Will Clarke.

Optimum have been boosting their slate and ramping up their film production activity. In addition to producing remakes of “Brighton Rock” and French thriller “Le Choc,” Optimum execs have also acquired Steven Soderbergh’s two Che Guevara pics, Italian helmer Matteo Garrone’s competish entry about the Mafia “Gomorrah,” and Emir Kusturica’s doc “Maradona.”

Shane Meadows’ “Somerstown,” Jose Padhila’s Golden Bear-winning “Elite Squad” and Armando Iannuci’s political satire “In the Loop” are also on Optimum’s ambitious release slate for 2008.

Optimum will also be releasing the first two films from digital studio Warp X — the three-way production pact between Optimum, U.K.-based shingle Warp and Film4 — this year. Chris Waitt’s “Complete History of My Sexual Failures,” bows in the U.K. on June 27 with Olly Blackburn’s “Donkey Punch” to follow shortly after on July 18.

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