Minimajor takes rights outside Spain for actioner

Gallic minimajor StudioCanal has taken worldwide rights outside Spain to Daniel Benmayor’s “Bruc.”

A pioneering historical actioner, a genre rarely explored in Spain, “Bruc,” now in post, is one of the most-awaited productions coming out of Barcelona.

Set in the early 19th century and described by producer Edmon Roch as “a Napoleonic ‘First Blood,’ ” “Bruc” begins with Napoleon’s hussars chasing a Catalan drummer boy to the high sierra. There the hunted becomes the hunter. And, almost singlehandedly, the drummer boy gives Napoleon’s army its first taste of defeat.

A pickup, “Bruc” looks likely to be put through some or all of StudioCanal’s direct distribution operations in the U.K. (Optimum Releasing), Germany (Kinowelt) and France (StudioCanal).

Meanwhile, StudioCanal is ramping up its production ops in Europe. boosted by the appointment of former Pathe exec Leonard Glowinski to the newly created position of StudioCanal head of co-productions and acquisitions for France and Europe, reporting to StudioCanal chief operating officer Camille Trumer.

With healthy financials — an operating profit margin of 14% in 2008 off $594 million in revenues — StudioCanal has the muscle to produce local films with international potential at $15 million-$30 million, a budgetary range that Hollywood is increasingly forsaking.

At AFM, Harold van Lier, StudioCanal’s exec VP of international sales, is introducing buyers to “Attack the Block,” the directorial debut of Joe Cornish, co-writer of Steven Spielberg’s upcoming “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.” Pic is first fruit of a three-pic co-financing and co-production deal just inked between Optimum and U.K. production house Big Talk Prods., (“Shaun of the Dead”).

StudioCanal is also pre-selling helmer Rowan Joffe’s $10 million-$12 million adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel “Brighton Rock,” starring Sam Riley and Helen Mirren and produced by Paul Webster and Will Clarke at Optimum.

In France, StudioCanal and Eric Heumann’s Paradis Films are co-producing Bertrand Tavernier’s “The Princess of Montpensier,” a 17th-century political-come-love story, based on true events.

In advanced production, the $19.5 million costume drama boasts a strong young ensemble cast in Lambert Wilson, Melanie Thierry, Gaspard Ulliel, Louis Garrel and Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet.

The tale of three Algerian brothers who immigrate to France during the Algerian war of independence, Rachid Bouchareb’s “Outlaw,” is in post.

Budgeted at $30 million, “Outlaw” is co-produced with Jean Brehat’s Tessallit and reprises key cast from Bouchareb’s hit “Days of Glory” — Jamel Debbouze, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila, and Bernard Blancan.

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